Don't waste what's tax deductible
TicKids turns the Houston sports tickets you don't use into kids' play
It was 1995 when Tom Young attended a Houston Rockets playoff game versus the Seattle Supersonics and found himself more preoccupied by four empty, wasted floor seats than the game in front of him. But where other men might have schemed of sneaking down a few levels during the next quarter, Young had another thought.
"I had been working with Casa de Esperanza and Ronald McDonald House and had six kids from Casa de Esperanza stuck back at my house, and I thought, wouldn't it be great to use those tickets?"
Young, now vice president of Deep Gulf Energy, tells CultureMap that 10 years later, when he took a sabbatical from the oil business, he finally had time to start a charity that would've put those tickets to use.
Many sports venues already give away blocks of unused seats, but their resources to manage the programs are limited, and they serve almost exclusively large charitable organizations. TicKids, the 501(c)(3) born in 2005 from Young's endeavors, focuses on smaller local organizations — around 275 of them — serving kids to put in those empty seats.
Tickets can be donated online or over the phone — as late as two hours in advance of the event.
"Just call me!" executive director and sole full-time employee Denise Hamilton, who is referred to as "the arms and legs" of the organization, urges. "I don't care how I get the tickets, long as I get them."
Tickets are donated by teams, corporations, individuals or, in some cases, purchased by the charity.
"We try to give them the whole experience," Hamilton says, "and collect coupons for hot dogs, popcorn and that kind of stuff."
Other money raised during TicKids' annual golf tournament fundraiser is used to purchase tickets for the younger set, such as last year's outing to see Disney on Ice or the circus. Charities check online to see what tickets are available and organize volunteer chaperones to bring the kids.
The University of Houston football program is one of TicKids biggest donors, giving about 500 end-zone tickets per game. The Houston Astros, Aeros, Dynamo and Rockets also participate, with the Rockets and the Aeros each sending a team to the golf tournament held in September. (If you're wondering, Texans tickets are out of reach for TicKid's budget, but are in high demand for donation.)
In its five years the charity has served more than 50,000 kids aged two to 21, some disabled, and their families by providing tickets to sporting and cultural events.
To make a tax-deductible donation of individual tickets or unused tickets left over from a corporate block, contact Denise Hamilton at 713-741-KIDS or sign up to be an online donor here.