Our History

In 2004 Dave Hannah met John Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods. At that time Tyson was giving away large quantities of food each year to those in need. Dave and John discussed the possibility of giving away food in partnership with sports teams throughout America. Dave then contacted Clark Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Wayne Huizenga, Jr., owner of the Miami Dolphins, asking them if their organizations would be interested in participating in an event to distribute food to the less fortunate in their home cities. Both the Dolphins and the Chiefs enthusiastically seized the opportunity.

On December 28, 2004, the first event was held when Dave brought together Tyson Foods and Ty Inc., along with the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs and over 30 nonprofit organizations, to distribute 74,000 pounds of frozen chicken (the equivalent to 370,000 meals) and 20,000 Ty teddy bears to people in need. This one-day event proved very successful and was the beginning of Lift Up America.

Lift Up America is a collaborative effort of national partners that includes over 100 caring companies such as Tyson Foods, Give the Gift of Sight (Luxottica Group that includes LensCrafters and Pearle Vision), Starkey Hearing Foundation, Ty Inc., Cinemark Holdings, Inc., Interstate Batteries, and more than 40 pro and college sports teams, and over 1,500 nonprofit organizations. Together, we provide the gift of food, sight, hearing, hope and comfort to our nation's less fortunate.

In 2006 Lift Up America added the “Giving Hope Tour,” which provides the gift of entertainment to those we serve.

From 2006 thru 2008, for every $1 contributed to Lift Up America, $33 of much-needed products was given away to help those in need. The Tyson Foods protein alone provided 14,000,000 servings of protein to 320,000 families at no cost to these families. Through our partners, a total of $94,297,700 of college scholarships, hearing aids, and protein was given away, plus additional millions of dollars more in Gifts in Kind including eyeglasses, food items other than protein, T-shirts, DVDs, batteries, stadium seats, refreshments and dental supplies.