BPS Foundation Launches, Earns Section 501(c)(3) Status, Supports Friends of Rocky NIL Collective

Foundation is one of the first to achieve Section 501(c)(3) status in the national NIL space.

TOLEDO, OHIO  (August 34, 2022) – Today, Friends of Rocky, a Toledo-based name, image, and likeness (NIL) collective announced the launch of the BPS Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed with the mission to educate, encourage, and assist student-athletes in their efforts to engage with the local community through charitable causes. Coinciding with its launch, the BPS Foundation just received its Section 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS, making it one of the first NIL organizations in the country to earn a federal tax exemption.

The launch of the BPS Foundation will expand the opportunities to support University of Toledo student-athletes through charitable partnerships, as well as educate student-athletes on how they can capitalize on their name, image, and likeness. To date, Friends of Rocky has completed about a dozen NIL transactions with University of Toledo student-athletes, with an average $1,000 per transaction. All donations made through the BPS Foundation will be tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Donors can choose to support all student-athletes at the University of Toledo.

“This is an important step forward, and we’re grateful to be one of the first in the nation designated as a Section 501(c)(3) organization. This allows us to empower University of Toledo student-athletes to channel their energy for a common goal: to make the community where they live and play a better place,” explained Alex De Castroverde, Chair of the BPS Foundation. “BPS Foundation will create numerous new opportunities for these student-athletes to give back in Toledo, within the Friends of Rocky collective managed by Blueprint Sports. All donations made through the BPS Foundation will be tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.”

Funds contributed to the BPS Foundation provide individuals and businesses a number of ways to support student-athletes including:

One-time tax-deductible contributions. Monthly tax-deductible subscriptions. Opportunities to engage with athletes for charitable partnerships in Ohio. The BPS Foundation will begin accepting donations immediately online at bpsfoundation.net.

“We are excited to bring additional opportunities for partnership to Toledo student-athletes,” said John Hoover, General Manager of the Friends of Rocky. “The launch of the BPS Foundation is an incredible opportunity to engage with different charitable causes and for student-athletes to give back to the community they call home.”

Friends of Rocky has worked with Toledo student-athletes and gained the trust of community supporters that power a compliant NIL Collective around the University of Toledo. Friends of Rocky aims to galvanize the Toledo community around student-athletes and deliver “behind the red rope” memberships for exclusive access to various student-athletes.

About BPS Foundation

In July 2022, the BPS Foundation, a Section 501(c)(3) organization, was formed with the mission to educate, encourage and assist student-athletes in their efforts to engage with the local community through charitable causes. The BPS Foundation lifts awareness of what it means to perform in a highly competitive environment by mobilizing collegiate athletes to help teach how hard work, discipline, focus, and continued education can make the young athlete’s dreams become a reality. The BPS Foundation empowers these athletes to channel their energy for a common goal: to make the community where they live and play a better place. Donations made to the BPS Foundation may be tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. For more information visit bpsfoundation.net and follow @BPSFdn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Friends of Rocky

Friends of Rocky is a fan-driven and alumni-led Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) collective for University of Toledo student-athletes, alumni, and fans. Community members who commit their support to Friends of Rocky, are pledging to maximize opportunities for student-athletes to build their brand and earn compensation. In addition, community supporters gain access to exclusive events, autograph sessions, and more. Friends of Rocky is powered by parent company Blueprint Sports. For more information visit friendsofrocky.com and follow @FriendofRocky on Facebook and Twitter.

Nate Brown

General Manager

Nate Brown is the General Manager of Zags Collective, leading the charge to help amplify the opportunities for the Gonzaga student-athletes through NIL partnerships with local charities, fans and businesses. With over a decade of experience in the professional sports industry and as a former business owner in Spokane, Nate is a seasoned professional who knows what it takes to succeed. Most recently, he served as the National Sales Director for a prominent west-coast real estate company, where he was responsible for driving growth and retention. With a deep understanding of sales and marketing, Nate brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and is always seeking innovative ways to drive revenue and create partnerships.With a passion for ensuring the success of student-athletes both on and off the field, Nate is dedicated to providing the necessary resources to keep Gonzaga competitive on the national stage. He understands the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with the community and local businesses, and works to maximize opportunities for Gonzaga’s student-athletes. As the son of two Gonzaga alumni, including a father who was a baseball pitcher and also a coach for the school, Nate has a great connection to the university and a passion for ensuring its continued success. Outside of work, Nate enjoys spending time with family, including his wife Jessica and their 16-year-old daughter Brooklynn and 12-year-old son Marcus. When not working or spending time with family, you can find Nate at any one of the amazing golf courses in Spokane, honing his swing!

Mike Smith

General Manager

Mike Smith joined Micconope 1851 in March 2023 and is excited to be the General Manager and looks forward to working with Blueprint Sports increase NIL revenue generation for Florida State University student-athletes. Smith comes to Micconope 1851 from Catawba College where he held the title as the Senior Director of Athletics, Development. Prior to working in Athletics at Catawba College, Mike served as the Associate Athletics Director for External Relations at Charleston Southern University. Smith has an impressive background in the collegiate athletics industry, having held senior level development and corporate sponsorship sales roles at The University of Southern Mississippi, Limestone University, the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic University, and with multimedia rights-holders Tele South Communications at the University of Mississippi, Learfield Sports at UNC Chapel Hill, and with International Sports Properties at Georgia Tech. Smith is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and holds a master’s degree in Business Management from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his new role here at Micconppe 1851, Smith will be responsible for raising major gifts for NIL deals as well as securing NIL corporate sponsorships for Florida State University student-athletes. Mike looks forward to helping ensure the FSU student-athletes have the resources and leadership opportunities to remain competitive nationally and positioned for success well beyond graduation. Mike is married to Katy Smith; the couple looks forward to relocating to Tallahassee, Florida, and becoming a part of the Micconope 1851 and Seminole family!

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