Proceeds to Benefit Indianapolis-Based Village of Merici
An act of friendship toward new teammates has turned into a full-fledged philanthropic endeavor for Cincinnati Bengals player Ted Karras. Fans and local media have quickly taken notice of Karras and other players wearing new “Cincy” hats in the locker room. Starting tonight at 7:00 pm EST, the hats are being made available to the public.
“The Cincy Hat” will be sold online, with the proceeds going to the Village of Merici in Indianapolis. The organization provides direct support services, learning opportunities, and independent living through partnerships with various developers. The Village of Merici currently supports more than 75 people throughout Indianapolis with a goal of self-reliance.
“The hats were originally a fun gift for my new teammates through a family friend’s golf supply business,” Karras says. “I figured everyone loves to get a piece of gear, and the response from my teammates, Bengal fans, and media members was extraordinary. The demand for the hats grew rapidly thanks to my teammates wearing them in interviews, and we decided to sell them, but it had to benefit Village of Merici.”
Karras’ involvement with Village of Merici is thanks to childhood friend Matt Renie. Karras and Renie were high school classmates at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.
“Ted grew up as a family friend observing his friend’s brother who has intellectual and developmental disabilities,” says Colleen Renie, Executive Director of Village of Merici. “Ted also has a family member with autism. He saw the potential in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their desire to live independently as they grew up.”
There are currently three hats available, with a fourth in the works. The hats retail for $35 each, and customers can choose from black, orange or white. The fourth hat will be white with a black logo.
The funds will go to supporting the Village of Merici programs that teach and support individuals in independent living skills to enable them to be successful.
“I am so grateful that a fun gift and project has found a special purpose,” Karras says. “It’s a great hat with an awesome design that I hope can become the unofficial hat of the Bengals. The Village of Merici is a very special place that does so much good. Any way I can ever help their cause is a special opportunity for me.”