Check out all of our programs where you can be a part of The Ike Foundation® and our mission to get kids into the outdoors and into the sport of fishing!
The Ike Foundation® begins each year with our Annual Scholarship Fundraising Dinner in Pittsgrove, NJ. The proceeds from this evening fund most of The Ike Foundation® Scholarship Program. Every year we award five deserving high school seniors, each with approximately $2,500.00 in college scholarship money, based on their efforts in the fishing community and the outdoors. Since 2017, we have been awarded $82,500.00 in college scholarships. High school seniors from across the country with an earned GPA of at least 3.0 and a proven contribution to outdoor conservation submit applications for The Ike Foundation® Scholarship. Students are required to submit letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, college acceptance letters, and an essay to be considered.
Ike’s Pro-Am Bass Tournament is a fishing event where local anglers pay an entry fee/donation to compete on the Chesapeake Bay. While the anglers are fishing the Pro-Am event, The Ike Foundation® team hosts the Ike’s Family Fun Fest. This is a free event that coincides with our boat tournament. The Family Fun Fest allows local and urban youth the opportunity to try their hand at fishing activities for the first time. The day is filled with music, games, giveaways, food, and fishing activities for all. The Ike Foundation® gives away 100 free Flambeau Ike tackle boxes that the kids are able to fill with fishing products donated by sponsors. After hours of practicing their own fishing skills, the attendees of this event stay and watch our boat competitors showcase their own catches from the day on a big stage. The day wraps up with one lucky winner from the boat tournament driving away with a brand-new Bass Cat boat with a Yamaha Motor. Other top finishers receive cash and prizes from Pro-Guide Batteries, Flambeau, Berkley, Mystery Tackle Box, The Bass University, Lowrance, Rod Warrior, Tackle Warehouse, AFTCO, TH Marine, Power-Pole, Nines, Rapala, and Rod Warrior.
The Ike Foundation® holds this fundraiser in the fall. Local anglers pay a fee to fish in the tournament with the hopes of bringing home amazing prizes from sponsors like Hobie, Flambeau, Lowrance, Tackle Warehouse, Power-Pole, and Rapala. The money we receive from this fundraiser goes to our general fund and helps us reach our mission.
The Ike Foundation® High School Program
With the rise of High School fishing programs, we have been able to partner with local South Jersey high schools. We have provided them with Abu Garcia rods and reels along with opportunities for these high school anglers to interact with Mike Iaconelli and other pros so they can become better anglers. As the students become more involved with The Ike Foundation®, they become our volunteers at our many local events and begin giving back to their community organizations.
Ike’s Hook’em Early Kids Fishing Event provides up to 100 kids with an opportunity to fish at a New Jersey Lake. We stock a local lake with bass, catfish, and bluegill for the event and to create a healthy fishery for many years to come. At this free event, we give each child their own Abu Garcia Ike Dude Combo rod and reel, Flambeau tackle box, tackle, and instruction so they can continue fishing. Our amazing volunteers log each child’s catch so we can award prizes at the end of the event. The Ike Foundation® also provided a lunch and snacks for all participants.
The Ike Foundation® at the Bassmaster Classic Program
Each year the Ike Foundation® team attends the Bassmaster Classic. Flambeau and The Ike Foundation ® have a long-standing tradition of handing out Ike Flambeau Kids Tackle Boxes at the Classic. The Ike Foundation® partners with their sponsors to host the tackle box giveaway. Over 500 kids receive stickers, swag, and a signed Mike Iaconelli Tackle Box. In addition to the tackle box giveaway, The Ike Foundation® has a booth where kids of all ages are invited to paint a Berkley bait, learn more about the sport of fishing and the ecology of the outdoors.
Fish Against Ike Virtual Fishing Tournament
In 2020, The Ike Foundation® successfully hosted a virtual fishing tournament where anglers from all over the country fished against Mike Iaconelli during the Covid pandemic. The money we raised from this event went to help with our local Covid Relief programs. $5,000.00 was donated to the Food Bank of South Jersey and $2,500.00 to the Family Success Center of South Jersey. They provided shelter, financial assistance and support to families displaced during Covid. This is an example of how The Ike Foundation® gives back to our community. We look forward to hosting additional virtual fishing tournaments in the future.
The Youth Fishing Tournament Trail is an extension of our mission with the introduction of competitive fishing from a boat. Youth, ages 8-18 of all skill levels, are invited to sign up and compete in one or all three regional events. Anglers can fish from their own boat or can be paired with fully vetted volunteer anglers from local bass clubs. Trophies and prizes are awarded to the top three youth anglers at each event. It is the hope of The Ike Foundation® that as participation grows, the tournaments will expand past the New Jersey/Delaware region.
Youth Fishing Tournament Trail FAQs
Where do I find the rules?
Does my child need to bring their own equipment?
Yes, each child brings their own equipment to each event. We suggest a couple of rods and reels along with a handful of baits that your child is comfortable with. The boat captains will sometimes lend equipment if they feel they have a specific bait that could help your child to catch more fish but this is not guaranteed. If your child does not have any equipment and would like to apply for our Equipment Scholarship they can do so on the sign-up page on our website. They will need to write a brief letter of why they need the equipment and one letter of recommendation. Youth Trail Entry Form
What does my child need to bring the day of the event?
Each Angler should come with their own rods, reels and tackle along with plenty of beverages and snacks to get them through the day. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are highly recommended. Rain gear is also a good idea if there is a chance of rain.
Are these events rain or shine?
Yes! We will fish in the rain as long as there is no thunder and lightning.
Who will my child be fishing with?
If you do not have your own boat then your child will be placed on a boat with another parent and their child or one of our vetted and background checked volunteers. We try to make sure each boat has two youth anglers so the anglers can learn from one another.
How long do these events run and do I need to stick around?
Our events launch at 6am or 7am depending on the time of year of the event. We ask everyone to arrive 30-45mins before launch so we can get everyone paired up and discuss the rules before the launch. We typically end our fishing day between noon and 1pm. The weigh in will happen as soon as we get the boats out of the water. Parents do not need to stay in the parking lot while your child is fishing. We do ask that if you leave you give the tournament director your number in case of emergency.
Conservation is a big part of The Ike Foundation®’s mission. The Stock A Lake Campaign and Program involves fundraising from various sources in an effort to basically Stock A Lake. We ask our social media followers to recommend a lake and we work with local conservation experts to determine when and what type of fish is best suited to that lake’s ecosystem. We then hire local fisheries to stock the lake with the appropriate fish at the appropriate times of the year. In 2022, we stocked three lakes, Daretown Lake in Daretown, NJ, South Park Lake in Vineland, NJ and Veteran Park Lane in Jenks, Oklahoma.
The Ike Foundation® Quarterly Product Donations Program
Through our online quarterly product donation request program, we donate 100 – 150 Abu Garcia Ike Dude Combo fishing rods and reels per quarter to qualified organizations. The Ike Foundation® considers requests from civic organizations, youth organizations, and other non-profits. Ideally, the relationship will educate youth about the outdoors, wildlife management, and sustainability, particularly as it relates to the sport of fishing. Ideal donation recipients would help equip youth anglers, particularly in more urban areas. All organizations must be a vetted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Ike’sAmBASSadors is made up of instructors from The Ike Foundation® staff and experienced volunteers. The goal of Ike’s AmBASSadors is simply to partner with groups and organizations that impact children in under-served communities and introduce them to the wonderful sport of fishing. Ike’s AmBASSadors meet with children and their chaperons at local lakes and waterways and provide fishing lessons in a fun and educational format. The Ike Foundation® provides all the fishing equipment for the day. Ike’sAmBASSadors explain the safety rules, basic components of the rod and reel and the correct and safe way to cast. Our experienced volunteers demonstrate knot tying, how to bait a hook, and how to take a fish off the hook. This program was introduced locally with the goal of expanding to other areas of the country.