Win Shaka Smart for an hour while supporting FRIENDS

Dear Ram Nation,

From left to right: Shaka Smart, Zora Smart, Maya Smart (not pictured: distant cousin, Mat Shelton-Eide-Smart)
The Smart family sporting the FRIENDS RVA t-shirts.

Coach Smart and his wife, Maya, are mounting an end-of-the-year fundraising campaign for FRIENDS Association for Children and we’re reaching out to YOU to help support that cause. The Smart family made a personal donation to FRIENDS but also want to mobilize hundreds of other donors to support the organization by buying or selling Friends RVA shirts.  Having thousands of FRIENDS shirts in circulation will go a long way toward boosting awareness of the organization, growing its volunteer rolls and amplifying its impact.

The 30-day online blitz, running from November 1- November 30, will give individuals and teams a chance to compete to raise the most money through online donations and t-shirt sales. Shaka will personally visit the winning fundraising team and team members will have the opportunity to have their shirts signed by him.  So far there are more than a dozen teams registered, ranging from VCU’s Master of Social Work Student Association to West Broad Honda’s sales force.  The hope is to add dozens more!

In addition, individuals are eligible for prizes, including a limited edition t-shirt featuring Shaka’s image as designed by a local artist, an invitation to dinner at The Roosevelt with the Smart family and a 55” flat-screen TV!

FRIENDS has been supporting success in the lives of children and families in Richmond for more than 140 years yet its work is still relatively unknown among the larger community.  In 2013, it is helping 1,000 kids realize their potential through early childhood development, art and music enrichment, afterschool programs, summer camps, mentorship, and parent education. Through these services, children are gaining the critical literacy and developmental skills needed to succeed in life and contribute to the well-being of our community.

We at have formed our own team, and will be posting our team link as soon as that is made available too us (Nov 1 we presume), but if you’d like to register your own team, be it your office, church group or what have you, here’s the link to do so:

Best of luck to all of your teams (but hey, hopefully you’ll join ours!).


A two-time graduate of VCU (School of the Arts '07, Center for Sport Leadership '10), Mat is a co-founder of VCU Ram Nation and a longtime fan as the ...