As Juniors at St. Paul's School in Louisiana, Michael Phillippe and Hyde Healey used their passion for lacrosse to raise funds in former team captain Graham Jordan's memory. Now they are back for the second year of "Goals for Graham."
In 2017 St. Paul’s Catholic School alum and former lacrosse captain Graham Jordan tragically passed away as a junior at LSU. During the 2018 season, current St. Paul’s seniors Michael Philippe and Hyde Healy took it upon themselves to set up a campaign in honor of Graham. Now, for the second season running, funds pledged for every goal their lacrosse team scores will go to Boys and Girls Club of Covington, LA in Graham's memory. Pledge It Client Success Manager, Alex Diegel, took some time to chat with these young men about what the legacy of Graham Jordan means to them and the St. Paul's Lacrosse team, and why they setup a performance-based campaign that enabled supporters to pledge a donation in Graham's memory for every goal their team scores this season.
Alex: Obviously there’s a little bit of an age gap between you and Graham. How did you know, or know of, him?
Michael: While we weren’t directly teammates with him, we had teammates who used to play with him. Especially in 2017, players on that team were freshmen when he was a senior. They were seniors when Graham passed away in 2017 and they were our captains at that time; they were obviously very moved by Graham’s passing. I wish I’d had him as a teammate because people spoke so highly of him as a captain, as well as a friend.
Hyde; We never met Graham or got to know him. But the fact that we feel like we know him just based off of who we talked to speaks to what kind of person he was. As people said in our interviews, he was the kindest person you’d ever meet, and super compassionate. As a teammate, he was dedicated and selfless.
A: What does it mean to both of you that you are carrying on Graham’s legacy by raising funds in his memory for the Graham Jordan Memorial Scholarship Fund?
H: It means the world that we get to help spread the story of Graham and let everyone know what kind of guy he was, and what kind of model athlete and model person he was. To help raise money in his name for a good cause is really rewarding. It means the world to us.
M: When we approached Graham’s father and mother about his idea, it was really moving to see the joy that it brought their family, that we wanted to remind people about Graham’s life in a positive way and invoke his memory in a way that helps other people. That’s what Graham would have wanted. And the fact that Hyde and I get to be a very small part of that is a huge honor. We’re happy to be a part of it and I hope that it continues after Hyde and I go to college.
A: What strategies did you use to spread your message and awareness for your cause?
M: We really wanted to put an emphasis on a video. Hyde and I talked for a while and we decided it would be pretty moving if we could interview some of the people that Graham had an impact on. So the people that were donating got to know who he was in the same way that we got to know who he was. That video was kind of the centerpiece as far as how we circulated our campaign.
H: The video, and social media were the main things. We also got our coach to send out a mass email. All the parents of the lacrosse team are all on an email chain so they get all the important information. So we had him send out an email with all the links and explaining the whole charity.
A: How has the Pledge It platform helped you raise awareness and raise funds for your cause?
H: It’s very easy to use. It’s easy to put up what you want people to see, and how they can donate. It’s very user friendly. Last year, you all tweeted us, you quote tweeted us, and that was really cool because you have a couple thousand followers.
M: You all’s outreach to your members is awesome. I remember you all reaching out to us when our campaign got to being pretty big like, “Hey we’ll be here if you all need anything’ and that meant a lot to Hyde and I. I really like how Pledge It has everything centralized. Immediately when you click on the link Graham’s picture pops up, the story’s below, the stats of our season and it shows you where you can donate. That simple approach is really easy for people to understand. Plus it allows people to keep up with our lacrosse team.
H: Your team is so helpful. Last year when we met, our initial goal was $3,000 and we were about to hit that really quickly, within a week. And I was like, ‘Oh jeeze we need to raise this.’ I direct messaged Pledge It on Twitter, and I said, “Hey is there any way you can raise our goal?” And within an hour or so you responded like ‘yeah, what do you want us to raise it to?”
Michael —We ended up raising it like three times up to $10,000 (laughs).
A: What can you say about your friends, family, and St. Paul’s community members that they have backed you to over $10,000 between last year’s and this year’s campaigns?
M: Our community is phenomenal. Hyde and I come from a great place to grow up, and we don’t take that for granted. The people in our community definitely recognized the need to remember Graham and recognize the fact that they had a place where they could donate in his memory.
A: What advice would you give to someone doing a charitable, performance-based campaign like yours?
H: Have a strong message. Have something you care about, something you believe in. Whether you might be really passionate about animals, if you’re starting a campaign for a shelter or something like that. Whatever it is, find something you really care about. Because if you’re passionate about it that will transfer into how much work you put into it and how much you want it to succeed. On more of the business side of it, social media is important. Make a video and promote it. These days videos are a more digestible medium for some people. Share it, ask people to share, ask everyone you know to share it.
M: I would also say don’t give up on sharing, continue to share. Don’t just do a huge thing where you share everything one time. See what happens, continue to push out in the community, even if it’s not working that well. Because eventually someone’s going to pick it up, someone’s going to see it. I would just tell people to continue to share it even if it’s not going as well as you want it to. Because eventually someone’s going to see it and donate to your campaign.
A: That’s all I’ve got. Great on you both doing something for the community on behalf of Graham. That is awesome stuff.
M: Thank you.
H: Thank you, and thank you for giving us an outlet.