Lightning looking for new community heroes

The Lightning Foundation, the Tampa Bay Lightning's philanthropic arm, announced yesterday that it will continue the "Lightning Community Heroes" program that began last season and that nominations are now being accepted.

The initiative, designed to help deserving local non-profit organizations, will distribute over $2 million of the $10 milion pledged over four years by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife Penny.

At each Lightning home game, an individual "Community Hero" is recognized with an in-game presentation and $50,000 is awarded to that individual's cause. Yesterday was the beginning of the first of three periods during which nominations can be submitted. The deadline for the first period is August 15. Deadlines for future nomination periods are November 15 and January 15.

To learn more about the program and submit nominations, fans are encouraged to log on to

In further philanthropic news with ties to the Lightning organization, a press release this morning disclosed the Viniks have pledged $500,000 dollars to the Florida Aquarium's Rising Tides Capital Campaign. The campaign is an initiative to expand and renovate the Channel District venue.