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Former student-athlete leads San Francisco's Olympic Club Foundation in providing access to youth sports programs

A San Francisco man has helped his nonprofit take fundraising to the next level so that more underserved children can build life skills while playing sports.

The letter O with wings - for Stephen Wynne, it symbolizes his mission at The Olympic Club Foundation.

"It just kind of lifts kids up to their feet and gives them wings and the ability to take a chance and go for it," he explained.

Go for it like he did in high school.

"I just loved sports and I focused on lacrosse," Wynne said. "I feel like sports gave me resilience and a work ethic I wouldn't have if I hadn't played sports."

As an adult, the Marin County native wanted to give other kids the chance to build confidence and character like he did. So he volunteered with The Olympic Club Foundation, the 32-year-old San Francisco nonprofit that supports sports programs for underserved children.

"I thought, 'Wow, this is really special. This is something that can benefit a great number of young kids in the Bay Area,'" Wynne said.

Outside of his job as a J.P. Morgan wealth advisor, Wynne has served on the foundation's board for the last decade. As board president the last three years, the foundation has doubled its giving, granting more than $700,000 last year to more than 70 sports nonprofits for Bay Area kids.

The nonprofit has led popular fundraisers under Wynne's leadership, has increased endowments, and partnered with other nonprofits of celebrities such as Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.

"It's not a phone call to our supporters asking them to write a check. It's more along the lines of 'Let's build community, let's have fun together,'" Wynne explained.

He brought back the popular Fight Night fundraiser that features young amateur boxers. It's the foundation's biggest fundraiser, generating over half a million dollars.

For more than 30 years, The Olympic Club Foundation has granted over $8 million to hundreds of nonprofits, benefitting more than 500,000 children.

The foundation is separate from the members-only Olympic Club, but all of the foundation's events are open to the public.

As for his contribution to the foundation's success, Wynne credits the nonprofit's team and his mentors, including late founding president Melvyn Mark who modeled generosity.

But Karin Haskell, Director of Giving Programs, says Wynne is also an inspiration.

"His enthusiasm and energy around what we do, he was always popping into the office, coming up with ideas, new ways of doing things," Haskell said.

For Wynne, the joy is in changing the lives of young athletes, the leaders of the future.

"It's super rewarding because I see all the fruits of our labor come to fruition on the field," he said.    

So for helping multiply The Olympic Club Foundation's funding for youth sports programs, this week's Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Stephen Wynne. 

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