Karen Wright, Executive Director of Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, has more than 15 years’ experience in the sports/entertainment/event and philanthropic community.
Karen worked for 13 years in the high-end gift and collectible retail industry, with the last 6 being the assistant to the owners. Her responsibilities included payroll, inventory control, employee training, customer service, and merchandise sales. She then stayed home for 10 years to raise her 2 children. During that time, she became very active in the PTA, heading various committees to raise funds for programs to enrich the student’s learning, and serving as 2nd Vice President for 2 years, 1st Vice President for 2 years and President for 2 years. Volunteering and helping came naturally, and she was also her son’s Cub Scout Den Leader for 5 years, and her daughter’s Girl Scout Leader for 4 years.
In 2009, she took on a part time position with Gridiron Greats managing the office, assisting players daily and supporting the Executive Director with any tasks needed from event planning to database management. That quickly turned into a full-time position.
In 2019, the opportunity to become the Executive Director of Gridiron Greats presented itself. She now dedicates her time to leading the fight in assisting retired NFL players in medical and financial dire need circumstances. Karen runs every aspect of the charity inclusive of: fundraising, marketing, player intake, executing grants for player assistance, garnering strategic partners in the medical and financial fields, event logistics for fundraisers, partnership execution and managing the many volunteers and advocates that freely give their time to Gridiron Greats. Karen currently resides in Elk Grove Village, IL with her husband. Her son and daughter are both in college.
Treasurer / Secretary
Been in Banking for 34 years, including last 25 years as Chief Financial Officer. Am a member of the AICPA and WICPA as I received my CPA designation in 1991. Been involved in many non-profit organizations serving in various capacities, including such as the local YMCA; Door County Fair Association and local Catholic church and Catholic school. I have assisted Gridiron Greats since 2007 and I’m honored to be Treasurer/Secretary for this important organization.
Chief Legal Counsel
Andrew Morton is a Partner at Handler Thayer LLP and Chair of the firm’s Sports & Entertainment Law Group. Andrew’s innovative practice operates at the intersection of celebrity and philanthropy, comprising all aspects of high-profile nonprofit engagement – from the initial formation of a tax-exempt organization, to the ongoing oversight, compliance, governance and reporting consistent with legal requirements and best practices. His clients include professional athletes, Olympians, actors, entertainers, artists, chefs and others with strong personal brand.
Andrew currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Giving Back Fund, the Alliance to Stop Slavery & End Trafficking (ASSET), and OneBlue, as well as the advisory board for the Pennsylvania Law School Public Service Program.
Events Director, Gridiron Greats of Michigan
Mark Lewis is a University of Michigan graduate and has worked in the Steel and Manufacturing Industry for over 34 years. Mark is the co-founder of the Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame Dinner in Michigan starting in 2009. Mark became passionate about the cause after seeing several former players struggling physically and/or financially. Mark has grown the event from 120 people to over 700 participants and dedicates all of his off time towards fundraising for the Gridiron Greats.
Jessica Tait, Executive Assistant/Player Care Manager of Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, has more than 15 years of administrative office experience and is currently enrolled in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies at DePaul University seeking a degree in Recreation and Sports Management.
Since 2002 Jessica worked various jobs in Administrative Office roles and as a Program Leader for a local Park District. Some duties included customer service, office correspondence, calendar management, report preparation & presentation, and leadership/supervising youth programs. In 2011, Jessica left the workforce to become a stay-at-home Mom to her 3 children. During that time, she also began to work from home as a Travel Advisor specializing in family vacations. This job has allowed her to be at home with her children but also provide supplemental income for her family. Once her children were school-aged, Jessica decided to return to school seeking a degree in Sports Management.
In October 2021, Jessica began working for Gridiron Greats ahead of the Super Bowl Cigar Party in Los Angeles. As Executive Assistant/Player Care Manager, she assists players daily and supports the Executive Director with all tasks pertaining to fundraising and event planning. Jessica currently resides with her family in Niles, IL.