In an organizational sense, I tend to think that there are a multitude of important people who contribute to whatever your cause is. Let's think of it in body parts--I find that to be easiest for me. I believe that an organization has a brain, the heart & soul, a mind, and feet.
The brain is what keeps the organization together, while the mind keeps the organization fresh and innovative. The heart & soul of the organization embodies everything that the organization is about. The feet keep the organization moving, always.
So, I suppose it's natural that I start this blog series to describe the heart and soul of this organization, The Superkick Foundation. I figured that one was the easiest.
Naturally, when the Foundation really-but-not-technically- started as just Superkick the Holidays in winter 2015, we were still trying to figure things out. We didn't know that this holiday fundraiser would expand into a legitimate 501(c)3 organization. There were plenty of obstacles: I, being the Founder, was only 23 years old Black guy who wanted to change the world through love and wrestling as a response to counteract the many acts of racism that I've experienced and others have had the misfortune (the sometimes fatal misfortune) of experiencing for themselves. I've always, also, been chronically unpopular, so apart from the core team of 3 best friends, and an old friend from High School, I don't know how we could have got this off the ground.
Alas, we did get hit the ground running with a small, cult-like following. Our initial run which bore us some of our most loyal followers (we call them "agents", now), Melissa DeVoe, Ren Dowgird, and Jason Solomon, formed the basis of what would become the Superkick Foundation. We struck gold; we needed heart, and while we had the concept, we didn't quite have anyone who was able to wrap their heads around what we're about and what we're trying to do for pro wrestlers and for people in need.
The idea for Superkick the Holidays was really organic. And the same could be said for Emmanuel Matkins’ involvement.
Emmanuel’s a normal, wrestling fan. Good southern guy who loved The Bucks just as I did. When he heard of us, which, I’d have you know it was at a time when we had some good momentum going and not when we had 2-3 followers, as he states on an interview he did---he understood the idea in a way that you’d never imagine. He went from just attending the shows as a fan to being almost like an investor, of sorts, of wrestlers.
When you join our Foundation internally, you suffer from the “FNDN Effect”; you go to wrestling shows and begin to focus on how hurt wrestlers are and could be, you focus on the dude at the merch table who is standing there and selling nothing, and you focus on the effort put into the ring by the performers.
This is the best way to describe Emmanuel, who is know around these parts as the “Iron Man”. He’s a mainstay at PWX; he’s helping set up and break down the ring, he knows the promoters well, he’s friends with a number of wrestlers who have let him inside of their circle, and he’s just a good, trustworthy, genuine guy who wants to make a difference in people’s lives. He always pays for free autographs for kids, and he’s always there when we need him. Some of our greatest relationships simply wouldn’t have been possible without Emmanuel’s persistence. We got called out by a well-known wrestler for being overly “aggressive” last year, but we’re a charity and we’ll always be aggressive—as Emmanuel has been. His aggressiveness has all the PWX guys talking about us, wanting shirts, wanting to get involved. In fact, our recent partnership with WrestlingParties came off of the good word of Sami Calahan, who learned about us through Emmanuel.
I wish there were more Emmanuels in the world. In fact, there probably are. But I won’t lie when I say this: without the Iron Man, we’re not half as successful. Iron Man has that special heart that helps him function. If you rip that thing right out of us, we’re probably never the same again.
He’s become a great friend of mine. We make fun of each other, we talk about ladies, politics, the Insane Clown Posse, and superkicks. He’s always thinking of ways to help people. That’s why he’s the Iron Man, and that’s why he is, undoubtedly, the heart and soul of The Superkick Foundation.
I believe you're well acquainted with our work and mission. If you aren't here's a quick reminder: we're the charity that serves professional wrestlers and people in need simutaneously. We support them as much as we humanly can through charitable donations, promotion, fundraising, and good will. We also (and this has been left in the dark, somewhat) work for you--the average wrestling fan, because quite frankly, wrestling fans invest in this business, and there wouldn't be much of a business without the consumer.
So, whenever I or Amanda (Chief Communications) or Emmanuel (head brand ambassador), says something along the lines of "this is your charity", its because it is. This is your charity. This is a completely grassroots movement that started as a means to help a specific tag team in Matt and Nick Jackson, but it became very evident very quickly that there's far more work to do, and we'd be doing ourselves and you a disservice by being just another cash-cow for The Young Bucks. We took the simple idea of investing your donations into the men and women who put their bodies on the line for us in the ring and expanded it to help other people in the pro wrestling business. We also used our platform to help you.
If you ask me, Matt Harrigan, what this foundation is about, I'll tell you it's about the wrestlers, the needy, and the fans. I, personally, am not looking for any type of significant recognition. My depression and anxiety affects my ego and self worth in a fairly negative sense, admittedly, but I'm never trying to use what we've all built into The Superkick Foundation as a means to bring attention upon myself. To be honest, I take very, very minimal credit for the success of all of this. When you think about it--I'm merely the person with the ideas that people seem to subscribe to. I'm like Bray Wyatt, and the rest of you are the very fireflies which bring those ideas to life. Without you, there is no us. We will never, ever, forget that. We, not me, are the ones responsible for building a movement and ushering in an unknown side of wrestling fans that most didn't even know existed: the generous side, the kind side, the charitable side.
There's always talk about wrestling fans as a bunch of bullies, or a bunch of "marks" who don't know the business, or even a bunch of sexists. Years ago, wrestling fans were looked down upon as illerate hillbillies by many corporate organizations. However, the emergence of The Superkick Foundation, which includes all of your retweets, your efforts to make get us known, your donations, your follows, your efforts to get pro wrestlers involved, and a bunch of efforts that don't get the proper recogntition, is proving naysayers that we're not those negative types of fans. Do they exist? Absolutely. But without your generosity, this foundation is still a yearly fundraiser on GoFundMe. I recently read an article about a polarizing movement and its founder, and this whole notion about planting seeds was brought up. To steal a thought for a moment--we've planted the seeds for charitable deeds in the business. One of our biggest supporters, an outstanding up and coming pro wrestler said that he was gateful for us for providing a blueprint of sorts to allow wrestlers and fans to be more charitable. That's what we have to be grateful for.
2016 was a year that started with a bang--the first "Bucks for Vets" event, in which we surprised homeless and low-income veterans with a pizza dinner and free clothes. I'll never forget Joe, for example, a gentleman who was confident he could beat Brock Lesnar, or Michael, who had a son who loved pro wrestling and we hooked him up with a free shirt of the Young Bucks doing the first ever Meltzer Driver, or the lovely elderly couple who wore their "IndyTaker: Lord of Markness" shirt with pride.
With your help and unending support, we were the only pro-wrestling entity who donated funds to help the victims of the horrific Pulse Nightclub Massacre, which saw the early deaths of a number of homosexual indiviuals. We had two words for the world which will always remain relevant--#SuperkickHate--and off of those words we raised nearly $700 for the families and victims of that unspeakable act. It was a gamble to fundraise for them, but the message we sent to these people was very simple: pro wrestling has your back, and always will.
We pulled off fantastic partnerships with the Young Bucks, the reason for this organization and an incredible family whom I consider friends of mine, The Solomonster, who has always been there for publicity and brought some much-needed attention to us, and even our first partnership with a pro wrestling company, CHIKARA, which is in the midst of culminating in February for National Pro Wrestling Day.
And, not to forget, we raised an incredible amount of money for this year's Superkick the Holidays--the most we've ever raised. We've raised money from generous fans in diverse areas of the world--the people from The Bronx, North Carolina, even the United Kingdom, and even Japan! We're part of a special movement fueled by love, positivity, togetherness, and pro wrestling. We're using your donations to help the homeless in an an amazing event by the end of the month, while using some remainder donations to help pro wrestlers in need. I didn't do it. The Board didn't do it; you did. We did.
2017 is going to be an incredible year, filled with opportunity and growth. We're going to do things we never thought we'd do (such as getting followed by Kenny Omega *wink*), and we're going to expand this foundation in big ways, starting with National Pro Wrestling Day. Without your loyalty, without the Melissa L Dorks, or the Rens, or the Emmanuels, or the Allan Burrows of the world, we wouldn't be where we are now. We're welcoming more people into what we consider an exclusive club of wrestling fans--an elite one, should I say: the Agents of Charity.
We're going to take over the world, fellow Agents. We're going to show people who need a hand that we'll be there for them, and we're going to do what we do best: make a difference.
So thank you for all that you've done for us, and I hope you're strapped in for a hell of a ride this year.
Matt Harrigan, Founder & CEO, The Superkick Foundation, Inc.
Professional wrestling; A world where women give birth to hands, dentists can strike up a relationship with Satan, becoming his favourite demon and a man can become loved, simply for his lack of a literal chin, but why do we love it? I don’t know, simply, to try to comprehend a world that makes as little sense as the world of the squared circle would be idiotic, or at least incredibly taxing. People love this art (yes, wrestling is an art) for many different reasons, ranging from enjoying the combat, the stories, or just the music, however I can only speak for myself, and this is why I love professional wrestling.
The Superkick Foundation, as much as it is about charity, is about opportunity. We are extending the opportunity to anyone to write for our website! We're looking for positive stories about charity in wrestling, or about promotions or wrestlers who otherwise wouldn't see coverage by any wrestling news outlets. Here's an introduction to one of our new writers! Please fill out the contact form if you are interested!
Hello, my name is Allan Burrows.
What's going on, Superkick Soldiers? You're the well-oiled machine that keeps us running, jumping, and super kicking! You are Soldiers of Change, Soldiers of Charity. Let's get that on a shirt, pronto!
So August is looking like an exciting month. We began by dropping our donation to the Equality Florida Institute's fund, which is a fund where they distribute the funds evenly, so you guys didn't just help one person, you helped a lot of people who needed a pick-me-up. That's HUGE, guys, really. And thats why I love you all; you trust us, you believe in what we can do for the wrestling business and the real-world business and you donated.
We also sent one of our original Superkick Soldiers, Rennie (the first ever Superkick Soldier of the Month) to see Tier One Wrestling's Brooklyn show this past weekend, featuring her all-time favorite wrestler, Damien Sandow. I've known Ren on the inter webs for maybe two or three years now, and she adores this man. I never thought in a million years that I would have anything to do with getting her to meet her idols, but we made it happen. We got her a first row seat, she got him a fabulous gift, and she was so, so happy.
Happiness of others; you have no clue how redeeming of a feeling that is. It makes me feel that we did the right thing! Do you think we did?
As you noticed, we didn't name a Soldier of the Month for July, that is because we're waiting for this month to do it bi-monthly. There's tons of opportunities to be the SSoldier of the Month, especially in this month here.
There are a bunch of wrestling shows this month--we'll be at WWE's 3 shows (NXT, SSlam, RAW), so if you spot Dave (huge) or me (dressed as a Young Buck, also known as the Black Buck), please come up and say hello! Take a picture, tag us, and we'll probably give you something for free, or something like that.
COO David is working on a raffle of a 200-level seat of NXT Takeover Brooklyn 2 with an entry fee of ten bucks. It's a center view, you see the video boards, you see the ring clearly and it's valued, like, thirty more bucks. Please enter the raffle here. All of the funds we collect, if we do, that is, will go directly into Hot Tag, our groundbreaking financial aid system for wrestlers who need a hand.
We're still working on start-up fees for paperwork, sadly. A CEO can only pay for so much out of pocket!
Emmanuel, another one of the original Soldiers, did an awesome promo vid for us which served as his own humble testimony as to why he believes in what we're doing. He's believed in us two-three-four and five-fold. He's made a difference to us without donating a cent to any of our causes. That shows you how involved you can be without spending on us. We take support seriously and everything makes a difference.
If you would like to make a difference for free, please tweet at us @SuperkickFNDN for details. We're looking for willing ambassadors who would like to carry some business cards and give them out to fans, while telling them about us and what we do, at the next wrestling show they go to. We'll supply the cards, no sweat. The more name recognition that we get, the better.
WhatAManuver and us have been flirting. We've got good things in "store" when they relaunch.
Exclusive on Twitter, we dropped the first clip from The Party, so yes, it's in the works and it'll be done sooner rather than later. The clip we chose proved a bunch of things about us, so if you haven't seen it, please give it a look.
As always, please support the Young Bucks, and other pro wrestlers!
Thank you for all you do for us! Let's keep making a difference!
The Superkick Foundation is proud to announce that we have donated the funds that you all helped us raise through our #SuperkickHate campaign a couple of months ago to the Equality Florida Institute on Monday, August 8th. The successful campaign moved over 21 shirts in 14 days, and combined with additional donations, raised a grand total of $407.07.
CEO Matt Harrigan is very proud of what everyone was able to accomplish.
"It was such a grotesque and senseless incident that targeted people who simply wanted to go out, drink, and dance. But in the end, what our supporters did was say that 'hey, we're pro-wrestling fans or pro wrestlers, and we don't stand for this'. The Young Bucks and Donovan Dijak all bought Superkick Hate shirts. And, you know, being the first wrestling entity to be proactive and help as opposed to just changing our Twitter avatar or like, merely casting it aside, that meant a lot that we were the underground force that was able to rally a bunch of great people in an industry who hasn't historically always been kind to the LGBTQ community. I never thought we'd be able to follow Superkick the Holidays with a strong campaign--there was always doubt. But yeah, we all did it. We were a positive beacon fighting hate, and we made our point loud and clear."
The campaign almost didn't happen. In fact, Harrigan wanted to take more drastic measures.
"We were sitting together in Hard Rock [Cafe] and Matt's reading the death total and his facial expression would change with every second." CCO Amanda Stockla states. "Then he looked up at me and was like 'I'm flying to Orlando.'"
"I wanted to go down there and give blood and come back. I was looking at plane times, cheap rates, the whole nine. I didn't care what I had in the bank--what happened was on a whole new level of messed up and I really couldn't just sit there. I was so jittery, I felt obliged to help." Harrigan says. "But ultimately, thats why I have Amanda as the CCO, second in command. She's legit my greatest advisor, because nobody can talk me off of a ledge except for her. I'm a Bronx guy, so what I want to do is what I want, and nobody can change my mind, but she does pretty frequently."
Harrigan's fast dreams came to a end, but it didn't stop him from being persistent. He texted the board, made up those two plus COO David Britt and CFO Mike Ballback, and asked them to donate blood. After Harrigan realized that literally too many people were giving blood, he asked the board if they would support a t-shirt campaign.
"I hated asking the board." Harrigan admits. "It has nothing to do with that I answer to a board because we're all good friends with the same vision, for the most part. But I hated asking the board because I was really set on just doing promotion and PR and outreach and all the paperwork before Superkick the Holidays 2 in October, and I didn't want to spring up a new fundraiser. But it was worth it--the intention was good, and we made a difference to someone struggling."
Individuals bought shirts donated an additional fee. Booster.com, the site that the Foundation worked with, noticed the success of the campaign and offered the design in a tank top, hoodie, and women's shirts. The campaign moved an unprecedented amount of shirts in a mere 14 days.
"It was a good fundraiser, for sure. It proved to me, personally, that we weren't a one trick pony with how successful Superkick the Holidays was. It proved that we can in fact run a good campaign, and that people can trust us. We tweeted out an image of the receipt to prove that everyone's money went where we promised. In the documentary [The Party], there's a number of scenes where we show the receipts, and if we're not 501(c)3 by October 1, we'll show the receipt for that. We don't finagle with people's cash. But we made a difference to a world that pro wrestling fans are embracing more and more. I also kind of saw it as a fitting tribute to Chris Kanyon, who really got dogged by WWE and absolutely led to his decline. So, I guess this was for you, Kanyon, and the 49 lost."
The Superkick Foundation is proud of this campaign and will have a collection of images of those who donned the Superkick Hate tee-shirt.
In the summer of 2015, founder, president, CEO, and life-long pro wrestling fan, Matt Harrigan found himself in a particularly rough patch in his life, battling severe depression and suicidal tendencies. Matt found himself looking for ways to help get himself out of the hole that he was stuck in. Matt, as a result, turned to the one thing that he always loved: professional wrestling.
From there, Matt discovered the work of “Crazy” Mary Dobson; a unique female independent wrestler who had ridiculous strength on-par with many male wrestlers, and wrestled a brawling style that hadn’t been seen in most female wrestlers. Mary Dobson’s work was the metaphorical ladder that dropped down into the hole that Matt was stuck in. The individuals that allowed Matt to climb that ladder to get out of that hole were Matt and Nick Jackson, known as The Young Bucks.
The Young Bucks are known for wrestling a flashy style; using a variety of different flips and other techniques but they are most famous for the use of the wrestling move called the superkick, an extended side kick that would put all of their opponents down for the count. The Young Bucks, through their work, showed Matt the beauty and fun of life. They taught him to live life in the fullest, to not care about comments from naysayers, and that life was intended to be fun. It was based upon this premise, along with Matt’s overall philanthropic and ambitious nature, that caused him to create a holiday themed campaign called “Superkick the Holidays”.
The fundraiser, which officially launched the day after Thanksgiving, set a modest goal of $1,000 to raise in order to purchase weather-appropriate Young Bucks-themed clothing from the company called One Hour Tees—a website for wrestlers to sell their own merchandise and get a large majority of the cut from the merchandise that is sold. The fundraiser was immensely successful in many ways; wrestling fans, for once, were able to get behind a genuine campaign that supported two of the most popular independent wrestlers on the market. The fundraiser was so popular that The Young Bucks, themselves, donated to the cause. Exactly a month after the fundraiser launched, the $1000 goal was reached, and a day after, the goal was exceeded by over $20.
Due to complications with the shipping of the items, we were unable to receive the items until after the New Year, and were furthermore unable to run an event until March 4th, which we held in conjunction with the Jan Hus Presbyterian & Church Outreach Center. This event, known as “Bucks for Vets”, was a very successful event in which we were able to provide dinner as well as the clothing that our donors helped us purchase, to veterans of wars ranging from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, Operation Desert Storm, as well as the War in Iraq. We got to know these people, and we made sure that they knew that young people deeply appreciate their efforts in battle and have a genuine desire to make a difference in their lives.
The Superkick Foundation was born during that event. When the team saw how much of a difference they were making, Matt felt obligated to take the platform on which “Superkick the Holidays” ran on, and expand it into something bigger that could reach more people in need, and continue to thank independent wrestlers—not just the Young Bucks, for their physical and mental contributions for the sake of opportunity. Matt also wanted to start what would be the first fan-led, pro-wrestling based charity organization that would attack the issues of low-income status, homelessness, and veteran outreach with a superkick—just like the foundation of the original “Superkick the Holidays” fundraiser.
So, you've found your way to The FNDN and still are kind of skeptical about us. No worries! Let's get some quick-hit frequent questions out of the way, and then we'll break down our module for you. We're all about transparency, so if you still have questions, tweet us, or fill out the contact form!
Is this an actual charity? Or is this one of those... "charities"?
It's a valid question, indeed. We've had our fair share of doubters, but the people who follow us know that we're legit. To answer this question, we're a legitimate nonprofit organization, officially recognized as such in the great state of New York. As of now, we are working on gathering some key documents that will allow us to be officially recognized as a charity in New York State, as well as working on becoming tax exempt (which means that donations will be tax-deductable). The reason why we aren't yet is because these things cost money, and CEO Matt has been paying for these things, including this website, out of pocket. We're real; we don't mess with people's money, and we don't mess with people's time. We actually want to make a difference to the wrestling world as fans, and as humans, we want to make a difference to those who need it most.
You say that the funds you raise go to the wrestlers. How do you know it goes there?
We're lucky enough to live in a world where ProWrestlingTees.com is thriving; a website that was founded by wrestlers, for wrestlers. With ProWrestlingTees, we know that a significant sum of money goes back to the wrestlers, so we work with them. For CEO Matt's favorite wrestlers in the whole wide world, the Young Bucks, they've created their own store in which the money goes directly to them. We will only work with stores and outlets, when it comes to apparel, that we can trust gives a significant sum back to the wrestlers. We aren't interested in working with promotions who finagle wrestlers' merchandise, so we've invested a great deal of research into who we work with. The worst case scenario is just us directly giving these wrestlers the funds.
How do you determine which wrestlers to give back to?
This is something that is still in the works, but it's very easy to serve wrestlers that are on board with our cause, and it's easy to identify wrestlers who need it. We can't do it alone: all of our board members have full-time jobs, and our CEO is currently studying for a Master's degree to allow him to better lead the Board and to better the FNDN. There is not a comprehensive plan yet, and admittedly, since we started as a Young Bucks-exclusive cause, a bias does exist. But we will not hesitate to look into independent wrestlers who need and can benefit from our help; whether it's donating funds, promoting their causes, or just making ourselves assessable for them. Together; meaning us, wrestlers, and you, the #SuperkickSoldiers/#FNDNation, we'll make a difference in a big way.
Does anyone on the Board get paid?
Absolutely not, because we're doing this for professional wrestling, and for the needy. That isn't just a talking point, it's legit. Our CEO has probably, personally, put in more money into this foundation than the sum of any donation we've ever received. The only time that we see money is when it's temporary deposited into our account, which is immediately followed by purchasing the materials for our cause. Our constitution and by-laws specifically states that nobody on the Board gets paid, and we really don't want to. It's not about us.
You guys give away free stuff. Is that just an attempt to entice us to donate?
Look at it this way--some of our biggest supporters are people who haven't donated to our causes, because we both recognize that a donation isn't the only way to make a difference. When we say that we're not an "average" charity, it's because we aren't. We're all about giving back, and we believe that when people do good deeds, they deserve to be rewarded. A follow on Twitter is a form of making a difference; it's a form of solidarity that cannot be adequately put into words. Retweets are even more golden, as it shows interest. So we like to reward our followers for being by our side and continuing to believe in us. We'll run promotions during campaigns to keep things fresh and, sure, to promote more donations, but good people will donate regardless, and wrestling fans are good hearted people. We like to engage with our supporters, we like to talk to them, we like to get to know them because at the end of the day, we're wrestling fans, too!
Have we explained ourselves clearly? If not, please tweet us @SuperkickFNDN, or see the "contact us" page!
Welcome, all, to the official website of The Superkick Foundation! As you know, we're THE charity of professional wrestling: giving back to those in need while giving back to the performers we all love.
This page here is for you guys to get to know the members of the Board of the Directors, get updates from the CEO, read our latest press releases, update you all on what's going on, and of course, to spread the word about causes in the wrestling community (or causes of your own) that need some ol' light-shedding.
The website is raw, but this is where we begin! We will continue to grow and get better with your help and support. We're four months away from our biggest annual fundraiser, Superkick the Holidays, where it all began. We intend on making it the biggest fundraising event(s) that we possibly can, and we will absolutely rely on you for help!
Thanks for dropping by! We'll let you know when there's a new post on the #BoardBlog, and we'll always communicate with you. We have a 100% transparency policy, so we'll tell you straight up whenever you have a question or we have to address something.
The revolution's only beginning. Let's make a difference, all!
- Matt (CEO)