A Chicago area teenager who started a charity organization that collects sports cards to donate to various children’s organizations and hospitals is getting a boost toward his college education.
As a high school sophomore, John Makowiec created ‘Cards2Kids out of his home in the Chicago area.
An avid collector, John wanted other kids – especially those who are ill or may not have the means – to experience collecting cards. The venture gone so well that over the last three years, Cards2Kids has donated over one million cards to groups across the country.
On Wednesday night, Upper Deck presented Makowiec with a surprise $5,000 check toward his Duke University education. Upper Deck says the scholarship is meant to honor Richard McWilliam, the company’s late founder and CEO.
“I started this charity as a way to help kids enjoy the hobby that I love. For something like this to happen is really amazing,” said Makowiec. “I am honored to receive this award and it will be a big help for me as I enter my freshman year.”
After coming up with the idea, he set up various events and asking collectors to help fill donation bins. He then recruited a number of hobby shops and appointed local ambassadors to help the cause, gradually building a team of volunteers to help repackage and ship the cards.
Upper Deck says the entrepreneurial spirit is something McWilliam would have appreciated.
“Richard completely transformed the trading card industry by introducing countless innovations that the market had never seen before,’” said Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck. “This scholarship pays a fitting tribute to Richard, by inspiring kids to discover new ideas that will impact future generations of collectors, just as Richard did 25 years ago.”
The scholarship presentation was made in a surprise gathering at the Bleachers Sports store in Winnetka, Illinois. Upper Deck staff presented a giant check to Makowiec in front of his family and dozens of supportive collectors to commemorate the occasion.
“We are incredibly proud of John for his dedication and hard work creating the ‘Cards2Kids charity’,” said Jenny Just, John’s mother. “Upper Deck has gone above and beyond in their support for the charity and for my son. We are extremely appreciative and grateful for such a wonderful gift.”