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The Spirit of Giving

BY Katie Bianco and Michael McCarthy | November 9, 2016 | Feature Features National

Our yearly ritual to showcase some of the biggest hearts in Washington is truly a way of revealing much more: how thousands of you work every single day to better our communities and enrich the lives of neighbors who aren't quite as fortunate. Here's to those who don't think twice about the act of giving financially, socially and spiritually—our city thrives because of you, no matter how big the check or amount of time given freely.
Braden Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom, two Washington Capitals, along with Karl Alzner, instrumental in spearheading So Kids Can

Power Play
These Capitals have kids in mind when giving back on and off the ice.

To the thousands of fans who rock the red for the Washington Capitals, Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom and Braden Holtby are sports superstars first. But the hockey players are also dads. And it’s that job that inspired the trio to get involved with the local nonprofit So Kids Can (capitals.ice.nhl.com). Founded in 2008 by former Capitals defenseman Mike Green and radio personality Elliot Segal of Elliot in the Morning, the local charity selects a youth-­focused organization each year as the beneficiary. The players then turn their ice time into an opportunity to give back. Each season, players donate $50 per win during the regular season and $100 per win during the playoffs. With that model, as well as other donations from players, fans and corporate partners, the team has donated more than $325,000 to charities like Horton’s Kids, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Dr. Bear’s Toy Closet at Children’s National. This season, they’re currently wracking up wins for Martha’s Table’s Joyful Food Markets, which provide fresh fruits and vegetables to elementary schools in Wards 7 and 8. “Now that I have two kids of my own, it’s even more important to me to give back to the kids in our community,” says Backstrom. The annual donation doesn’t just come in the form of a check. Caps players like Backstrom and his fundraising teammates also make it a point to visit the kids who will benefit from So Kids Can. Last year, the team unveiled a Caps-­themed waiting room at MedStar and spent the afternoon playing with the young patients at the hospital, and later this season, they’ll host an event with Martha’s Table. “Anytime we can come meet the kids is awesome. It’s so fun to come in and just talk and interact with them,” says Holtby. “It puts a face to the donations we’re making, and lets us see the impact they’re having.”

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