ZIMMER FOUNDATION NEWS
July 12, 2017
Mike Zimmer Foundation Awards Pair of $10K Academic Scholarships
Lindsey Young, Vikings.com
The Mike Zimmer Foundation on Wednesday announced the two recipients of $10,000 academic scholarships awarded to student athletes from the state of Minnesota.
This year’s scholarships were awarded to Noah Sanders, a senior at Apple Valley High School, and Randy Cuate Galarza, a senior at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis.
Sanders, a standout quarterback for the Eagles, plans to attend North Dakota State University in the fall. Galarza, a key member of Roosevelt’s varsity soccer team, will continue on to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Sanders and Galarza are the second and third students to receive academic scholarships through the Mike Zimmer Foundation and the first two from Minnesota. The foundation first awarded the “Bill Zimmer Memorial Scholarship” in 2016 to Gabriel Lammers, a student at Lockport Township High School (Illinois). The scholarship honored Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s late father, Bill, who served as the wrestling coach and head football coach at LTHS for more than 30 years.
The Mike Zimmer Foundation was created by Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and his family to honor the life of Mike’s wife, Vikki, who passed away unexpectedly in 2009.
The foundation’s goal is to give back to the youth of Minnesota and “better lives of children in need by helping them chase their dreams, motivating them to do so and promote a healthy and active way of living as well as stress the importance of education, hard work and teamwork.
May 21, 2017
Mike Zimmer Foundation Hosts 350 at Free Youth Football Camp
Craig Peters, Vikings.com
A total of 350 boys and girls attended the inaugural and free Mike Zimmer Foundation Football ProCamp that was sponsored by Medtronic on Saturday.
The young people tossed and caught footballs, learned fundamentals about the game and alertly listened to messages about healthy and active living and the importance of approaching life with a positive attitude.
“It’s good to be here. It’s important for us to give back to the community and be able to invite these 350 kids here to this camp,” Zimmer told members of the media. “Obviously, all free. We want to make sure that we’re combining sports, athletics and education and healthy lifestyle with everything. Pro Camps is doing a great job with putting this on. Medtronic has been a great sponsor for us. My daughter, Corri, who runs the foundation, has done an unbelievable job, and I think the kids are having a lot of fun.”
A much “more congenial” version of Zimmer, the Vikings head coach, strolled across the turf, gently offering tips to the excited yet attentive campers.
Zimmer, who was just days removed from his eighth eye procedure since last fall, was joined by his son, Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer, and youngest daughter, Corri, who has run the Mike Zimmer Foundation since its launch in spring 2016.
As the Zimmers glanced across the gridiron, each camper’s smile reminded them of Vikki Zimmer, a loving wife and mother who passed away in 2009. Vikki’s giving spirit and the way she put others first has guided the Mike Zimmer Foundation.
“I was talking to my dad earlier. I leaned over and just thought, ‘My mom would love this,’ ” Corri said. “It’s cool to see it come to life after all of the planning and process, just to see these kids have a great time. They’re all working so hard to try to impress everyone. Promoting a healthy and active lifestyle is a really important message when they’re at a young age.”
Adam, who was reminded of attending Emmitt Smith’s camp during his youth, said the scene was “exactly what [his mom] would have wanted.”
“She would want as many people to come for free,” Adam said. “She was always wanting to give back to the community, whether it was a homeless person on the side of the street, or I could name a bunch of examples of her trying to do the best for other people. She always put herself last, so we’re trying to carry on her spirit in terms of what she taught us in terms of being generous. We’re all blessed to be in a great situation where we can do this. Hopefully she’s looking down on us and smiling right now.”
When it came time to organize the first ever camp, they answered a familiar question, “W.W.V.D.? — What Would Vikki Do?,” and determined it was important for the camp to be free for all to attend.
A total of 200 spots were reserved for Boys & Girls Clubs, and the remaining 150 were available on a first-come, first-served basis. The immediate interest in the camp was so high that it shut down the website managed by ProCamps, but the Zimmers were able to work out the logistics with the organization.
Zimmer and his former boss, Cincinnati Head Coach Marvin Lewis, are the only two NFL coaches who host camps. He was asked to compare his approach to instructing the youth with his coaching style when working with the Vikings.
“Much different. I’m a lot more congenial, I guess, is a way to say it,” Zimmer said. “I see a lot more positives than negatives. To me, it’s these kids having fun and enjoying the sport and enjoying getting out and doing things.
“One of my pet peeves has been, when I was growing up, which I know was a long time ago, you’d drive by baseball fields, softball fields and football fields and always see people out there playing sports,” Zimmer added. “Now, the playing fields, unless it’s organized, the fields are all unused, so if we could ever get it again to where kids go out and play baseball or softball, whatever, I think it would be great for not only the state but the United States — and I’m not a politician.”
Vikings assistant coaches and players, including veterans Brian Robison, Harrison Smith, Kevin McDermott and Stephen Weatherly, helped with the camp. Rookies Jaleel Johnson, Jack Tocho, Elijah Lee, Dylan Bradley, Shaan Washington, Horace Richardson and Eric Wilson also participated, jumping in scrimmages with the campers and working together in a drill that stressed the importance of communication and teamwork.
Adam said the message about approaching life with the right attitude was extremely important.
“We still want that in our locker room today,” Adam said. “We want good guys to be around, because if you’re not, you won’t last long. I think it’s an important value that you need to teach at a young age.”
Later this month, the Mike Zimmer Foundation will be awarding two $10,000 scholarships to Minnesota student athletes.
“It’s been really hard to narrow it down,” Corri said. “We’ve had about 100 applications, and I was telling my dad they’re very impressive. These young kids are great.”
It’s a tough task, but one that Corri gladly will handle.
“Corri has always been really good at working hard and being relentless,” Adam said. “She’s done amazing things since we had the opening last year to now. It’s unbelievable how far it’s come. We’ve given out scholarships. We’ll give out two more soon. It’s a testament to how hard she’s worked, and it’s really come together nicely. I’m really proud of her.”
JULY 25, 2016
#MoreThanWords Raises $15K for Mike Zimmer Foundation
Lindsey Young, Vikings.com
Vikings fans participating in the #MoreThanWords campaign tripled their results this year to make an impact in the Twin Cities community.
For the second summer in a row, the Vikings blogging community joined forces to raise money for charity. The #MoreThanWords effort, which ran from June 1 through Aug. 9, raised more than $15,000 for the Mike Zimmer Foundation.
A unique autograph signing with Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer at FanHQ in July brought in nearly $9,000. The additional $6,000-plus was donated by Vikings fans all over the world.
“We started all this so we could keep Vikki’s name alive, keep her spirit and her memory alive, and do good things with it,” Zimmer said at the autograph event. “We want to help kids in Minnesota particularly. I think this is a great way to do both of those things.”
According to the Mike Zimmer Foundation website, all donations received from fans – through #MoreThanWords or otherwise – will help promote a healthy, active lifestyle for youth as well motivate less-fortunate youth and “help them chase their dreams.” Plans of the foundation, led by Zimmer’s daughter, Corri, include college scholarships and free youth football clinics, among other things.
“Vikings fans are really the best in the league,” Corri said.
Vikings Territory founder Adam Warwas, who started the #MoreThanWords concept, said it will continue to be an annual effort. A number of platforms have already contacted Warwas about being involved in next year’s fundraiser.
“We all contributed to an effort of positive coverage and heightened awareness of this charitable venture undertaken by Coach Zimmer and his family,” Warwas said. “I’m already dreaming and scheming about how the 2017 #MoreThanWords campaign could be even better and accomplish even more.”
He added: “Thank you all for everything you did to help make this year such a successful one before even one snap of football has been played.”
JULY 25, 2016
JULY 25, 2016
JULY 25, 2016
Vikings Fans Meet Coach Zimmer, Support Foundation
Lindsey Young, Vikings.com
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – It was 1,300 miles one way, but that didn’t keep Wayne Mutterer and his brother from making the trek from South Carolina to Minnesota to meet Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.
“We don’t get a lot of news about the Vikings in South Carolina,” Mutterer said, chuckling. “But [an article] came up on the [Vikings] app that said you could meet Coach Zimmer. I thought, ‘I’m not going to have any more opportunities to meet and greet Coach Zimmer.’ ”
The brothers drove 23 hours to FanHQ in Eden Prairie, where Zimmer met fans, took photos and signed autographs for just over an hour. The event was part of the #MoreThanWords fundraising campaign, and 100 percent of ticket sales – nearly $9,000 – went to the Mike Zimmer Foundation, which was launched in memory of Zimmer’s late wife, Vikki.
“I would have donated to Santa Claus if I had a chance to meet [Zimmer], but the charity was a cream on the top,” Mutterer said. “I know a few people who have lost spouses. I know it’s tough, and I know anything you can do to continue that memory would be pretty special. So it was an easy contribution to make.”
Zimmer was impressed by the fans who sold out the event and arrived decked out in purple and gold. Training camp starts up this week, but Zimmer enjoyed the evening away from the field and interacting with fans.
“It was a lot of fun,” Zimmer said. “You come in and you find out how strong the Vikings fan base is and what passionate fans they are. I hope they bring that kind of passion and excitement to U.S. Bank Stadium when we open it up.”
In addition to 100 event tickets and 10 VIP tickets that included a private meet-and-great with Zimmer prior to the signing, FanHQ auctioned off one “right-hand man” ticket, which included four sideline passes to Vikings training camp and the opportunity to sit with Zimmer throughout the event. The initial highest bidder opted to accept the sideline passes but put the second portion of the package back in for a second auction in order to raise more money for the foundation. That’s when Darin "Gruben" Troftgruben stepped in.
Troftgruben, a lifetime Vikings fan, found opportunity to have an extended conversation with Zimmer especially significant, as he experienced the loss of his own wife, Christina, in 2010.
“That’s one of the things I talked to Coach Zimmer about,” Troftgruben said following the event. “The first time I was on the field at a Vikings game was two months after Vikki died. Two months later, my wife died, and I got a chance to talk to Coach about that.
“I wanted to let Coach Zimmer know how much he means to fans,” Troftgruben added. “Going to Vikings games is a dream come true for me. To be able to meet [Coach Zimmer] is just an incredible honor.”
Brian Richards was another dedicated fan who didn’t hesitate to purchase a ticket for the autograph signing.
“I’m a big believer in the way the coach has the team going right now,” Richards said. “I think he has them going in the right direction, and I like the improvements he’s made in the last couple of years. You can see tangible evidence on the field of it in their performance, and it’s to support his charity, too, so that’s always a good thing.”
Richards enjoyed exchanging a few words with Zimmer as the head coach added his autograph to an authentic helmet already bearing the John Hancocks of nine current Vikings and Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner.
Of all the items that came through the line, Zimmer said he especially appreciated seeing the variety of photographs fans asked him to sign. The two most common were snapshots of the Week 17 division-clinching win at Green Bay: Zimmer being doused in a shower of orange Gatorade and later, a candid photograph was taken of the coach sitting in the team bus, a postgame smile captured.
The expression was repeated Thursday.
“He’s all smiles tonight,” Richards said of Zimmer, who even posed for selfies with one young fan and his father.
“[Tonight is] great for us,” Zimmer said. “We started all this so we could keep Vikki’s name alive, keep her spirit and her memory alive, and do good things with it.
“We want to help kids in Minnesota particularly,” Zimmer added. “I think this is a great way to do both of those things.
Zimmer’s daughter, Corri, leads the Mike Zimmer Foundation and organized the autograph signing along with Vikings Territory founders Brett Anderson and Adam Warwas and FanHQ owner Shaun Hagglund.
“I thought [Coach Zimmer] was great,” Hagglund said. “The fans were super excited to meet him, and knowing that 100 percent of the funds were going to the charity, it adds sort of a different feel to the event. You’re helping people out, and you’re also getting something for your collection.”
Corri and her father were equally impressed at the turnout and the money raised, which brought the current #MoreThanWords fundraising total to more than $12,000.
“Corri really started this from the inception,” Zimmer said. “It was an idea that we had […] and then to be able to come up with different ideas on how to really continue celebrating Vicki’s name – it’s been unbelievable.”
MAY 19, 2016
Mike Zimmer Foundation Awards $10,000 Academic Scholarship
Lindsey Young, Vikings.com
The Mike Zimmer Foundation on Thursday awarded its first academic scholarship to a student who overcame adversity with the help of athletics.
Gabriel Lammers, the recipient of the $10,000 Bill Zimmer Scholarship Award, is a senior at Lockport Township High School (Illinois). Bill Zimmer, the late father of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, served as the wrestling coach and head football coach at LTHS for more than 30 years.
Mike Zimmer’s daughter, Corri, runs the foundation and had the opportunity to interact with members of the Lockport community while handling the specifics of the scholarship.
“I have constantly been told what a great man [my grandfather] was and how his impact on the school, community and athletics is still there today,” Corri said. “It’s really touching, and I know he would be so honored to be able to change a young athlete’s life in a way that this scholarship will.”
When Bill Zimmer passed away in August 2015, scholarship donations were made by friends and family in lieu of flowers. That amount, combined with an additional donation made by Coach Zimmer, comprised the $10,000 presented to Lammers in a ceremony at the school Thursday.
Each applicant was asked to submit a sports-centric essay, and it was Lammers’ that stood out the most to both Corri and Coach Zimmer. Lammers shared in the essay that his older brother tragically passed away in 2014. In the midst of grieving, Lammers seriously considered giving up sports. However, he wrote the following:
“I was a captain and a leader on my team, and I was determined to show them that I could maintain both mental and physical toughness for the game.”
Corri said it was that line in particular that especially struck her.
“The amount of strength and toughness Gabe showed during the season he lost his brother was admirable,” Corri said. “It was something I saw firsthand when my dad coached an away game in 2009, the weekend after my mom passed away. My brother and I watched that game in the stands along with my grandpa and grandma.
“We all found some sort of healing through sports,” Corri added.
Corri said she’s always admired when people are able to turn their heartache into helping others – it’s that very goal that drives the Mike Zimmer Foundation.
“We hope to honor [the spirits of] my grandpa and my mom in our hearts,” Corri said. “We want to do some great things for some great people who deserve it, like Gabe.”
Qualified applicants for the scholarship met the following criteria: they participated as a varsity athlete in football or wrestling; held a GPA of 2.75 or higher; planned to attend an accredited college, university or community college; and participated in extracurricular activities at LTHS or as a volunteer in the community.
In addition to being a four-year member of the honor roll and regular volunteer in the Lockport community, Lammers was a member of the varsity lacrosse team and a two-year starting linebacker on the Porters varsity football team. Following graduation, he plans to attend the University of Iowa.
Choosing a student athlete was significant to the Zimmers.
“My dad was in the Hall of Fame at Lockport,” Coach Zimmer said. “When he retired, he was the sixth-winningest coach in Illinois. He felt it was important that we pick someone that played the sports he was involved with, and we also wanted to keep his legacy going there.”
The Mike Zimmer Foundation, created in memory of Coach Zimmer’s wife, Vikki, has gained a large support system since its official introduction in March.
“The people that have helped us – it’s been amazing, all the people that have donated, purchased shirts and went to the foundation kickoff,” said Zimmer, preparing for his third season in Minnesota. “My daughter, Corri, has done an unbelievable job running it, as well.”
The foundation focuses primarily on youth of the Twin Cities but has also helped in other areas, including recent support for Flint, Michigan, and the academic scholarship at LTHS.
NFL reporter Laura Okmin, who served as the emcee for the foundation launch, has gotten to know the Zimmers and their efforts to make a difference.
“The only thing Coach Zimmer talks about more than football is family,” Okmin told Vikings.com. “Every time I’m around the Zimmers, I can feel the love they have for each other – and for Vicki. That’s the heart of this foundation in every single way.
“I love this foundation for making such a difference to so many families’ lives,” Okmin added.
Corri and Coach Zimmer plan to continue their work to impact youth, make a difference in the community and honor their loved ones.
“It’s important to us that we keep Vicki’s spirit alive,” Coach Zimmer said “And my dad’s, as well.”
MARCH 5, 2016
Mike Zimmer Foundation to Provide Help, Honor Memory
MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Zimmer and his family on Saturday officially launched The Mike Zimmer Foundation, which will give them opportunities to help others while honoring a lady who never missed an opportunity to care for people in need.
The Vikings head coach, his daughters, Corri and Marki, and son, Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer spoke on behalf of their wife and mother, Vikki Zimmer, who tragically passed away at age 50 on Oct. 8, 2009.
Mike and Vikki met when he was an assistant at Weber State. He was an aspiring coach, and she had a passion for ballet dancing. Mike said his wife loved teaching and working with young people. He even recalled a couple of dance terms he learned from Vikki when he spoke with reporters.
“We’re trying to keep alive her spirit. She was the nicest, kindest person — totally opposite of me,” the 59-year-old said.
Fox Sports sideline reporter Laura Okmin served as emcee of the event. She spoke about the league-wide sincere respect for what Zimmer has done in his career and the importance of relationships.
“It’s about people,” Okmin said. “It’s the most wonderful game. It’s so entertaining, but at the end of the day, what makes it so unforgettable, so impactful are the people in this room and throughout the league.
“I root for good people and I am the biggest Mike Zimmer fan,” Okmin added.
The foundation already has provided $10,000 in scholarship money to Lockport Township High School, where Zimmer’s father, Bill Zimmer, coached football and wrestling, and sent money to Flint, Michigan, to help with the city’s water crisis. Most efforts, Zimmer said, will be directed toward the people of Minnesota, which has become a home for him since his hire in 2014.
“The people of Minnesota have been so great to me that I want to try to give back to the community,” he said. “It’s good to have my family here and it’s great to honor Vikki and do whatever we can for the community and state of Minnesota.”
Corri, who still lives in Texas where she grew up, is leading the foundation. Corri said she appreciated help from Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren and other members of the Vikings in launching the foundation.
Marki, who has moved to Minnesota, said she’s “amazed and proud of the hard work [Marki has] put into the foundation and the passion she has in doing this for my mom.”
“I don’t know how to put into words the kind of person my mom was. She was my best friend and taught me everything,” Marki said. “Everything she taught us in life was to do unto others as you would want them to do to you. I’m glad I was blessed to have someone instill that in my life.”
The number of times that Corri and Marki have phoned their father with questions has increased since that sad day more than six years ago, but he truly enjoys being there for his children. Last week, Zimmer asked Corri, “What can I help you with?” multiple times. The answer included assembling baskets of silent auction items and other planning.
“I texted my dad the other day and said, ‘You’re a great boss,’ ” Corri said.
“We’re already close and have a great connection, but the bond of honoring my mother, there’s something special and unique about it,” Corri said. “I always tell everyone she was the tiniest person but had the biggest heart. She loved helping people.”
Zimmer recalled Vikki seeing a homeless person, going to the grocery story, and driving until she relocated the person. It wasn’t a one-time instance of help for homeless. She also liked to leave gifts for the postal carrier, and listen and learn about others.
A key mission of the foundation will be to provide scholarships to underprivileged students to help them become overachievers. There are also plans for a football camp for young people and a golf tournament.
The Zimmers will work to grow the impact of the foundation with Vikki in their minds and hearts.
“I think it’s great anytime you can use the platform you’re on to give back to the community, especially a great community like Minneapolis/St. Paul,” Adam said. “It’s also great to honor my mom because she wanted to give back to people all the time. She was the most giving person I know. There’s a little something special in her that’s in all of us. Every day I think of something she taught me. We miss her a lot, but I’m glad we can carry on her spirit.”
Vikki Zimmer Memorial Scholarship
In 2010, Tyler DeLaet of LaSalle High School with the Vikki Zimmer Memorial Scholarship, a four-year, $20,000 scholarship. The Vikki Zimmer Memorial Scholarship was funded with donations to the Marvin Lewis Community Fund in memory of Vikki Zimmer, the wife of Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer who passed away in October.
On March 2, 2015, Tyler updated us on his success:
It is with my plessure to inform you that last spring I graduated with my Undergraduate Degree in Health Sciences from the University of Cincinnati, I am currently entrolled in a Master’s Degree for Biology at the University of Cincinnati and will graduate this spring with my Master’s, and I have been lucky enough to be accepted into the University of Louisville School of Dentistry next fall.
This Past semester I was invited to interview at 4 terrific schools for Dentistry (University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, and Indiana University), and I have finally chosen to accept an offer from the University of Louisville. I was one of over 3,000 applicants that applied from just 110 spots in their 2015 admission class. I was lucky enough to recieve an offer for admissions the first day they were allowed to send out letters and after careful deliberation with my family, Louisville is where I will be continuing my education and career path to becoming a dentist.”