The National Football League recently recognized Jennifer Whelihan, economic development manager for Hillsborough County, as one of 32 recipients of its annual Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award.
In her role, Whelihan serves as a liaison between the county and the tech community. She's also involved with a number of nonprofits. Glazer Family Foundation co-president Darcie Glaser Kassewitz presented the award to Whelihan on Oct. 1 at the Bucs-Giants game at Raymond James Stadium.
"It is fantastic that the NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are honoring their community and fans by recognizing the history, heritage and traditions of our Hispanic community," said Whelihan, whose mother is Panamanian. "It's moments like these when we can celebrate our actions in making a difference. We serve a purpose and we do it everyday, guided by our heart. That's what our athletes do, our community heroes do, those that protect and serve, those that teach, our mothers, mentors, friends, society. That's what this honor means to me — to bring your value and share it with others."
With support from Nationwide, each recipient will select an organization of their choice that serves the local Hispanic community to receive a $2,000 donation. Whelihan, 38, split the money between two organizations directly supporting women and Hispanics: Prospera, which targets Hispanic-owned businesses; and the Centre for Women specifically to provide support for Hispanic women through its business center.
Nationwide's partnership with the NFL and support of the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Awards is the latest in a series of relationships with the Hispanic community. The sponsorship aligns with the company's goal of partnering with organizations that share its values.
"Each recipient is a role model and local hero. We appreciate the time and dedication each leader has devoted to making a difference," said Jaime Weston, NFL senior vice president of marketing.