VCU Coach Shaka Smart: ESPN/Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge to Benefit Local Kids

Here’s a fun way to support a local Richmond charity and help us recognize our awesome VCU coach – Shaka Smart!  Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and spread the word on your social media so we can help Coach Smart give $100,000 for local children!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Monday, January 6, 2014

Richmond, VA – VCU Head Basketball Coach Shaka Smart was again selected as one of 48 NCAA basketball coaches to participate in the 4th Annual ESPN / Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge. The Coaches Charity Challenge is an online voting contest that begins Monday, January 6, 2014 3:00 PM EST. Participating coaches earn money for their chosen charity for each round they advance. The overall winner gets $100,000 for their charity!

Coach Smart has selected FRIENDS Association for Children, a local non-profit agency, which has been serving children and families in the Richmond community for over 140 years. “Maya and I have visited the FRIENDS Centers and have seen firsthand the positive influence they have on the children”, Coach Smart said. “We want to do all we can to help them prepare these children for success in school.”

ajrayno_1364432311_ajrayno_1364429901_ajrayno_1364429643_ShakaAs the only Virginia coach and university in the competition, Coach Smart is representing the entire Commonwealth which means everyone can show their Virginia pride and support the effort.

“We are extremely grateful for the tremendous commitment that Shaka and Maya have made to FRIENDS Association for Children”, said FRIENDS Executive Director, J. David Young. “Their support has had a huge impact on our ability to help our children and families and reach the broader Central Virginia community.”

To cast a vote for Coach Smart and FRIENDS:

  1. Simply register at, (or sign on via Facebook)
  2. Click on the Infiniti Coaches Charity Challenge banner to vote.
  3. Votes can be made daily throughout the contest.
  4. A vote for Coach Smart helps FRIENDS help our children.


Vote for Coach Shaka once per day.

  • Round 1 voting runs from 1/6 at 3:00PM ET – 1/26 at 11:59AM ET.
  • Round 2 voting runs from 1/27 at 1:00PM ET – 2/16 at 11:59AM ET.
  • Round 3 voting runs from 2/17 at 1:00PM ET – 3/2 at 11:59AM ET.
  • Final Four voting runs from 3/3 at 1:00PM ET – 3/16 at 11:59AM ET.

Don’t forget to vote each day. Winner will be announced on March 16, 2014.



FRIENDS operates two multi-service child development centers in Richmond- the John C. Purnell, Jr. Child Development Center in Jackson Ward and the Robert L. Taylor Childcare Center in Church Hill. The agency serves children from low-to-moderate income working families, and offers a broad array of services to help them gain critical literacy and developmental skills needed to succeed in school and in life. These services also help children achieve a greater understanding and appreciation of their community and the world around them. Learn more about FRIENDS by visiting