Help Shaka Smart Raise $100K in November

FRIENDS_LogoShaka Smart Partners with for 30-Day Campaign Benefiting FRIENDS Association for Children
T-shirt fundraiser aims to be largest for Richmond start-up to date

Seriously? Basketball coach turned fundraiser? Yep and we are super-excited about this 30 day race against time to raise $100,000 for a very worth cause. It’s all thanks to Shaka and Maya Smart.

Smarts Friends RVA shirts

Shaka and Maya Smart and their daughter.

Shaka and Maya Smart unveiled a 30-day fundraising campaign today for FRIENDS Association for Children at the organization’s child development center in Church Hill. The Smart family plans to raise $100,000 for FRIENDS during the month of November through Richmond t-shirt startup

“I visited FRIENDS earlier this year and saw the organization’s positive influence firsthand,” Coach Smart said. “The kids are so bright, they have a great energy, and we need to keep lifting them up so they can reach their potential.”

FRIENDS has been serving Richmond for more than 140 years and offers services that help children gain critical literacy and developmental skills.

“Our family continues to be impressed with the impact this organization is making for children in the community,” Maya Smart said. “We hope Richmond stands with us this month to raise money and visibility for FRIENDS.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Individuals and fundraising teams can purchase and compete to sell shirts through a special site set up at
  • Top fundraisers can earn rewards including a limited edition Shaka t-shirt, dinner with the Smarts, an Ed Trask painting, and a Samsung 55” SMART LED TV.

With the addition of a team selling feature, this partnership marks the most ambitious on the Bonfire platform to date.

“We are thrilled to partner with Shaka and Maya on this campaign,” Bonfire founder Brian Marks said. “We’ve already been able to raise money for thousands of causes using our model and we’re excited to expand our platform to encourage teams to sell t-shirts for FRIENDS.”

FRIENDS TshirtThe team selling the most shirts will win Coach Smart for an hour. This hour could include a speech at a company meeting or leading the winning team in a workout. “We’ll have fun with it,” he said.

Smart, VCU Men’s Basketball Coach, also selected FRIENDS earlier this year for an ESPN giving challenge for $100,000, and through online voting, made it into the final four – but only the top organization earned the cash prize.

“We’re thrilled that the Smart family is partnering with FRIENDS again. The funds can help our family support program for a year, which makes a big difference in the lives of those receiving our services,” FRIENDS executive director David Young said.


FRIENDS Association for Children operates multi-service child development centers in Jackson Ward and Church Hill and serves nearly 1,000 children, ages six weeks to 17 years of age, with a broad array of services. Learn more about the organization’s beginnings in 1871 at is risk-free way to sell soft t-shirts for a cause. Once a fund is launched, a t-shirt is designed, as long as the fund sells 50 shirts, Bonfire prints, ships and instantly transfers all proceeds from the fund directly to you.

Click here to help Shaka and Maya Smart raise $100,000!


Rhonda is the mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren – and our only grandmother on staff. She spent 25 years in corporate healthcare managing prenatal and disease management programs. She is the Content Manager for Richmondmom and contributes her expertise as both a mom and grandmother – while sorting out the many opportunities for our valuable advertisers.

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