OWNERSHIP helped in the region’s recovery. The club was among the first major businesses to return to New Orleans, and in 2006 had a thrilling season where they reached the NFC Championship Game for the first time, becoming an inspiration for a region on the mend. In 2010, the club established the Saints Gulf Coast Renewal Fund, which raised over $1.5 million through the raffle of a Super Bowl ring and the 2012 raffle of Saints and Pelicans game day experiences. Over one million dollars has been distributed to charities, such as the local chapters of the Second Harvest Food Bank and Catholic Charities to help provide support of those affected by subsequent natural and manmade disasters, including the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Hurricane Isaac and flooding throughout the State in 2016. The efforts of the organization have continued to lift the community, with the team serving as an economic engine and a pacesetter in philanthropic contributions. In 2008, Mr. Benson was selected by the Volunteers of America as the winner of its annual Good Samaritan Award in Philanthropy in recognition of his work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In 2015, he was honored by New Orleans City Business as one of the region’s 35 “Driving Forces” for his contributions to the community since Hurricane Katrina. Under the guidance of Mr. and Mrs. Benson, the Saints are a focal point for healing and restoration—annually putting millions in charitable contributions, goods and services back into the entire Gulf South. Their commitment to the region is firm and lasting, with the focus on building a stronger and more unified city. It’s a direction that continues to evolve and expand. rounding areas. Since Mr. Benson first purchased the team in 1985, the city has hosted five Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XLVII. Mr. Benson has been the driving force behind each campaign to secure the contest, including the most recent successful campaign at the annual league meetings in May, 2009. Each Super Bowl has been an economic windfall, the 2013 game in New Orleans totaling $480 million, not to mention the exposure and charitable contributions the NFL makes during Super Bowl week that extends for generations. The Bensons are committed to continuing to bring future Super Bowls to New Orleans. Highly regarded throughout the NFL, Super Bowl bids are only one of many ways which Mr. and Mrs. Benson influence the sport and the League. Mr. Benson has played a key role among NFL owners in many capacities, including serving three stints as Chairman of the Finance Committee, one of the League’s most difficult, time-consuming and influential positions, with his most recent term ending in 2013. The assignment is evidence of the respect and esteem in which successive NFL commissioners and his fellow owners hold him.
A dedication to others
Building up New Orleans
Possessing the desire to give back to the great game of football, in 2014 Mr. and Mrs. Benson pledged two significant gifts totaling $11 million to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. $10 million was earmarked for the immediate renovation of the Hall’s onsite stadium, which hosts the annual enshrinement Ceremony, the NFL Hall of Fame Game, two high school football teams and two college football teams in Canton, Ohio. In his honor, the facility has been renamed “Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.” The additional one million dollars is the first donation towards the establishment of the Hall of Fame’s Legends Landing program, a mixed-use residence that will include room for Hall of Famers and former NFL players. Dedication to the Gulf South are among Mr. and Mrs. Benson’s most rewarding endeavors. Since 2005, the Saints have positioned themselves as a leader in the recovery of the region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Immediately after the storm, they established the Saints Hurricane Katrina Fund, which raised over one million dollars to benefit worthy causes that
The Bensons have helped stimulate the development of the city’s Central Business District, directly adjoining the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, starting with the 2009 purchase of the formerly vacant and blighted Dominion Tower and the unoccupied New Orleans Centre. The two important commercial spaces, which were vacant since Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, have returned that region of the CBD into a more vibrant and viable sector of New Orleans and revitalized an area that was largely ignored for four years following Hurricane Katrina. The newly renovated Benson Tower has served as a boon to this important business corridor, while “Champions Square”, which made its debut in 2010 adjacent to the former mall, is continually being developed and enhanced with the ultimate objective of producing a world-class sports and entertainment destination. This economic investment plan, which included 2009 agreements on both a private and public level, has revitalized the Mercedes-Benz Superdome area, and the agreement with the state included a dramatic modernization of the stadium which was
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