Updated: Sep 14, 2022
How did we get our name? What does it mean? The idea for the name itself came from our community!
I always hated when we had to come up with team names for group projects. That type of creativity is just not my jam. So, being that this foundation is about the kids and for our community, I asked everyone who would listen to me talk about the foundation what they thought a good name would be. And I asked Facebook world for their ideas. And I did some market research to see what already existed for names. We received a myriad of ideas, especially via Facebook and while it was wonderful to hear people building off of and supporting each others ideas nothing felt perfectly right.
One night while I was meeting with Lisa, who has been in charge of our marketing and branding since before I knew to ask for help, she mentioned incorporating Vincent's love of the color red and his prolific amount of clothes with hoods into one name; The Red Hoodie Project. I remember sitting there and thinking ‘Yes! This is close!’. The next day I decided to start testing out The RedShirt Foundation. When I think of V I think of him in the many red shirts he wore, and I wanted to use the word ‘foundation’ because I thought ‘The RedShirt Project’ might make us seem like a non-profit that gives out red shirts.
I also think there is a beautiful symmetry between redshirting as an athlete and what our foundation is trying to promote. As I, someone who knows little about sports, understand what it means to redshirt, the athlete is pausing their competition to learn new life skills and allowing time for adjustment before returning to competition. It also allows for a greater period of eligibility. And while we cannot pause our lives, often times in the middle of a battle with brain health it can feel like life has paused. I wanted to honor that pause and help normalize taking time to learn new skills, so that we can go back to competition (or life) better able to perform and adapt to stressors.
I began to test the name out on every ex-collegiate athlete and sports fan I knew and none of them said they got the concept I was going for until they heard the explanation. And even then it was iffy, but they could see it. (So if any of you reading this are good with words and want to help me come up with the right words to explain this concept more succinctly, your help would be much appreciated.)
I also tested the name out on people who knew V and many of them got the connection to V immediately.
The more I tried the name out, the more I spoke about the foundation, the more certain I grew this was our name.