BBVA Compass and the Houston Dynamo wrapped up their joint campaign to raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with a series of community events that ended when the Dynamo took the pitch at BBVA Compass Stadium for the Ninth Annual BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup.
The bank and the Dynamo named the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, as the beneficiary of the annual charity match soon after the hurricane hit. That came on top of their other efforts. Including the proceeds from the Charities Cup, the bank has donated or raised nearly $1.2 million to help Houstonians and hundreds of the bank’s own employees recover. Meantime, the Dynamo, Major League Soccer and MLS WORKS committed another $1 million to relief efforts.
We know there’s a long road ahead. But (Houston) is a city that reflects back to America its best heart and spirit, so we also know it will stay strong and keep shining
“We wanted everyone in Houston to know that we’re with them and will stay with them,” said Onur Genç, the CEO of BBVA Compass, whose holding company is based in Houston. “We know there’s a long road ahead. But this is a city that reflects back to America its best heart and spirit, so we also know it will stay strong and keep shining.”
A blitz of events
In the week leading up to the match, the two organizations marshaled their resources and did what they love to do: They created opportunities in Houston and for Houstonians. It began when volunteers from the bank joined up with current and former Dynamo players to boost financial literacy among KIPP Houston kindergarteners. At the charter school system’s KIPP Nexus school, they taught the students what it means to save for their future, and helped them understand the importance of a budget. They also fielded the kindergarteners’ questions about all manner of money matters.
The Dynamo then summoned some of their superstars and youth-program coaches and returned to KIPP, this time to teach fifth-graders how to be perfect on the pitch — how to dribble, how to stop the ball and stay balanced, how to be part of a winning team and how to work together. The star of the soccer camp was Brian Ching, the Dynamo’s all-time leading scorer who is now managing director for the Houston Dash.
“It was great to see the kids engaged and smiling, especially given that a number of them were affected by Harvey,” Ching said. “That storm spared no one, but we’re all in this together and we’re all going to get through this together.”
Finally, on the morning of the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup, Dynamo Legends led again by Ching and volunteers from BBVA Compass descended upon the Houston Food Bank to assemble disaster-relief boxes for the people of Houston. They were joined by players from Mexican club Cruz Azul, the Dynamo’s opponents in the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup. All told, they helped the effort to pack 7,200 relief boxes that day, the equivalent of $33,000 worth of meals.
A national audience for the first time
The match, in which Cruz Azul prevailed 5-2, was televised nationally for the first time in its nine-year history. It aired on Univision Deportes Network, the most-watched Spanish-language cable sports network in the U.S.
Before the Dynamo and Cruz Azul players entered the pitch, a group of Univision Deportes Legends and Dynamo Legends warmed up the crowd with a friendly celebrity match. The Univision team boasted international soccer stars Carlos Pavon, Hristo Stoichkov, Pavel Pardo and Marcelo Balboa, the former captain of the U.S. national team.