Jordan Coppert may be only a junior at Faith Lutheran High School, but he’s already impacting the lives of others. A member of the school’s football team, Coppert said he wanted students on financial aid to experience school sports. Inspired by a student he met from India, he decided to supply athletic equipment to those in need at Faith, 2015 S. Hualapai Way.
The idea began last year after he met a student from India who collected items that did not pass quality control at different companies. He shipped those items to New Delhi to help the needy. Coppert, 17, decided to mirror the effort at Faith, which has about 1,400 students, 211 on financial aid.
“I experienced all the emotions that are associated with the (football) season, how all that hard work, the commitment, had paid off,” he said. “It had kept me from drugs, helped my grades go up, gave me a sense of camaraderie. And I thought, ‘I want to share this sense with other people.’ That’s where the idea came from. And now, a few years later, we just won the state championship for football. … These are important lessons that sports teach.”
He said he wanted to keep the effort small. He bounced the idea off his parents, both businesses owners. They advised him to take one step at a time and keep his grades up while staying on top of the philanthropic effort. He set about setting up his nonprofit, called Faith-Ful’s.
It has two parts. The first is collecting gently used or new items such as cleats, helmets, athletic shoes and basketballs from students. The collection events are held in early spring and fall. The next one is likely to be in September.
“Sometimes students will have two of something, or they will have outgrown something they never got to use,” Coppert said.
The items are sold at the school’s thrift store at Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane. Though those items are sold at low cost, the store has raised an estimated $250,000, with about $4,000 of that from Coppert’s 2-year-old foundation. The Faith Lutheran Thrift Store proceeds have been used to buy various things for the school, including a van for the athletic department.
“It’s a blessing to have one of our own spearhead an effort like this,” said Faith Lutheran football coach Vernon Fox. “… This kind of goes in tune with what we stand for as a program, to try to get the young men to understand what it means to give back. He does a great job of being a leader in that aspect.”
The second part of Coppert’s initiative was to approach Under Armour about forming a partnership. That allegiance was formalized in March and resulted in 311 items worth about $12,000, including athletic shoes, football gear, balls, water bottles and hats.
For legal reasons, those items cannot be sold but rather are handed out free to area students in need. The primary indicator of who qualifies will be to see who is on the free or reduced lunch program.
“It’s kind of expensive nowadays to be involved in sports,” Fox said. “You’ve got to supply a lot of things. But you’re willing to make that sacrifice as parents because you want to keep them out of trouble. And sports is something that’s going to instill discipline.”
Dr. Steven Buuck, CEO of Faith Lutheran, recalled Coppert coming to him with the initial idea for Faith-Ful’s.
“I love the entrepreneurial spirit that he showed,” Buuck said. “I love his heart for our school because his immediate intention was this, ‘How can I help the thrift store? How do we generate fun, which would impact his classmates and future generations of kids here?’ So, I was impressed. … He’s mature beyond his years.”
Shipments from Under Armour will arrive quarterly from the company’s “Thirds” program, which gives to nonprofits. Coppert estimated those donations will total more than $45,000 annually.
In the future, Coppert said Faith-Ful’s may reach out to other athletic companies, but for now, he is keeping it at a size he can handle, as well as keep the personal aspect of it intact.
“I don’t want (youngsters to think) I’m getting this stuff that’s churned out by this gigantic machine,” he said. “No, we legitimately stick behind what we’re saying.”
Coppert plans to study business and engineering and one day own his own company after college.
Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2949.