In the fall of 2008, the New York Jets along with the New York City Department of Education and Lime Connect, an organization that promotes employment for people with disabilities, launched "Be a Champion", an annual writing essay contest for students with disabilities. The contest, now open to grades three through twelve, is designed to encourage students with disabilities to reflect on concepts of achievement and success as they prepare for the challenges of the last years of secondary education and think about their options beyond high school. The contest also provides a valuable instructional opportunity for teachers to address transition with their students.
Tony Richardson and Lime Connect's founder Rich Donovan serve as spokespeople for the program. Authors of winning essays are invited to attend a wrap-up event hosted by Tony Richardson and Rich Donovan. Mr. Donovan, who has cerebral palsy, is a successful entrepreneur as the principal owner of Integrated Process Solutions LLC and former portfolio manager for Merrill Lynch & Co.