Bowling Center Ideas

Bowling Centers across the country are developing innovative and successful drives for BVL.

Download BVL’s  16-17 Manual, filled with great ideas and graphics to get started on a BVL campaign!

BVL’s newest campaign “Care. Commit. Contribute. – Brightening Veterans’ Lives” – is seeking your help and support to fund bowling’s own, oldest, and most successful charity. Bowling center operators coast to coast are stepping up to support BVL – while some centers have set lofty goals in the thousands of dollars and others a minimum pledge of $1,000; the bottom line is all contributions of any size are welcome to help make a difference in the lives of those who have served our country.

No Check To Write – Just A “Can Plan”
We will provide you ways to raise this money that will be easy to implement and effective. From POS materials, to open play ideas, to “pass the can” promotions, to tournament programs, you will be provided all the materials you need, at no cost to you, to easily meet your pledge goal. Since 1942, BVL, with the help of the bowling industry, has been providing recreation therapy programs, designed to maintain or improve physical, mental and emotional well-being, as well as reduce depression, stress and anxiety of our nation’s combat veterans.

BVL dollars fund the purchase and use of sports equipment, arts and crafts supplies, pet therapy activities, games, dance, drama, music and community outings at VA Medical Centers, Vet Centers and State Homes around the nation.

Unlike similar charities which may spend in excess of 50% in administrative costs, BVL spends less than 6% of all monies raised for administrative expenses, so the overwhelming majority of your dollars will go to support those that matter the most; the heroic veterans in VA hospitals. Your customers and your community will appreciate you providing them with an opportunity to help our veterans who have given so much to the cause of freedom and fellow bowling operators will be pleased to see you listed as a participating center.

The Need Is Huge Today, Your Help Is Vital!

GET STARTED by emailing our Executive Director Mary Harrar at

or Take Our Pledge 

Make the Pledge!

  • I pledge to support BVL - Brightening Veterans' Lives - and will make sure my center or company raises funds for BVL in the next twelve months.



Thank you in advance for your support of BVL – Brightening Veterans’ Lives.

John LaSpina, Chairman
BVL Board of Directors

P.S. – Once you take the pledge, we’ll be in touch with you to send you your FREE BVL fund raising materials, we’ll also talk about the great public relations this program can deliver to your center(s). NOTE: We will be supplying monthly updates of all participating centers to regional and national bowling publications – so your customers will know you have pledged to step up to
Care, Commit and Contribute to BVL; a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization.


Although you can develop any program you would like to help support the BVL effort, here are some successful programs already developed:

Six Easy Ways to Support BVL 

Order the “Can” from BVL and ask your customers to throw in their loose change.  Use it to do a “round up” program.CAN







Rental Shoe Income: Donate your first pair of rental shoe income every day to BVL.  This simple option could generate as much as $500





Pin art ribbon CMYKSoldier Pin Cutouts: Print “soldier pins” on blue, red, and white paper and cut out forms.  Have contributors sign their name on pins (e.g.—Blue for $20 contribution, Red for $10 contributions and White for $1 contribution) and post throughout the center.    Click here for the art: bw-pin-art








“Heroes in Our Midst” display: Create a display to recognize bowlers, bowling center staff, area leaders, or community members who are serving or have served in the military. Make regular in-center announcements, asking customers for the names and photos of individuals they would like to honor through a contribution to BVL.  Post the honors and photos.

Open play program: Use the quarter mania or dollar mania concept and donate a percentage of the customer’s “entry fee.”  For example, charge a $5 entry fee and donate a percentage to BVL.

BVL Merchandise:

  • Ask for a donation for BVL’s “Support Our Troops” silicone wristbands ($50 for 100 wristbands).green camo wristband 2


PR and Marketing Bonus:  Use BVL to Reach Out to Your Community


  • Have contributors to your BVL campaign complete a form including their name, address or email address for a chance to win free bowling (and an opportunity for you to create a new database).
  • Promote your support for BVL and America’s veterans and drive traffic into your center on a flier or email; your Facebook page and website; and a press release. Notify your area Chamber of Commerce and local news outlets to communicate the good work being done by your center.
  • Contact area military and veterans associations (American Legion, VFW, etc.) to invite them to your center for a special event to support BVL.
  • Consider tying your BVL campaign to a military themed day: November for Veterans Day;  July 4; Flag Day; Holiday Season; Armed Forces Day, etc.


Maple Family Centers Leads Bowling Center Contributors to BVL 

Through the combined efforts of the management, staff, league bowlers, and area retailers, Maple Family Centers, with centers in the New York City area and in Florida, hold the lead in center donations to BVL with a record-breaking total of over $250,000 to date.

The Maple Family Center effort started with the vision of President John LaSpina.  “Our thought was this:  Create a campaign which would benefit BVL, at the same time provide an opportunity for our bowlers to have some fun and to do some good.”

Staff worked together to develop a tournament program which began at the league level.  “We wanted to create a very simple structure, and yet give all our bowlers a chance to participate; not just the competitive or scratch bowlers,” notes LaSpina.  The in-league tournament ran for two months, with staff going lane to lane immediately after practice to register bowlers.  All who signed up received a free game coupon.  A leader board, updated weekly, was created along with a BVL display in each center.

In addition, raffle prizes were solicited from area retailers and pro shops – providing an additional source of fund-raising.

Capping off the event was a Tournament of Champions competition, which brought the top 20 bowlers from each center together for a final competition.

However, in the past few years, Maple Family Centers have really stepped up the pace, incorporating a PBA Senior Pro Stop into the event.  “The BVL/Johnny Petraglia Open” is now the capstone of their annual BVL drive.

“Our bowlers are really enthusiastic about this event,” said LaSpina.  “The energy and excitement it created was really infectious.  It was a combination of getting everyone involved at the league level, and it was the cause…they all really believed in the BVL mission.  It was a great combination!”

Holiday Lanes, Bossier City, LA

Proprietor Melanie Warmke has been a longtime supporter of the efforts of BVL. They have provided portable lanes to VA hospitals and nursing homes; and have done prior events for BVL.

Marketing Manager Robin Williams wanted to try a fresh approach at raising awareness to provide bowlers in the area the opportunity to have fun with America’s favorite sport AND support the cause.

William’s introduction to the cause came at Fourth of July this year.  She developed a unique promotion, which offered customers the chance to bowl at a discounted rate, and funds would be donated to the BVL.  Holiday would then match the donation of $2.50 for a total of $5.00 to BVL.  Also, participants were able to enjoy a special luncheon featuring a Bar-B-Q platter.

The Cherry Bowl, Rockford, Ill.

 Thanks to the efforts of The Cherry Bowl in Rockford,Ill., BVL coffers received a great boost in November.  Using some BVL materials and a bit of elbow grease they raised almost $1,200.

Their campaign was based on the bowling pin art provided by BVL and a raffle. Contributors who donated $1.00 put their names on the paper pins, which were then hung throughout the concourse, and they also received a free game of bowling.  For a $5.00 donation, contributors put their names on the pins, received a free game of bowling, a BVL “Support our Troops” wristband, and an entry into a drawing. The first place prize was a $50 Bowlers Universe gift certificate; second place was a bowling group package of two games and shoe rental for up to four people.

Staffers made announcements about the BVL campaign and explained how BVL supportsAmerica’s veterans.  However, John Anderson, manager of The Cherry Bowl explains, “The key is walking through the leagues and really making a connection with the bowlers – that really made a difference.”

Hudson Bowl, Hudson, FL 

Each year, Hudson Bowl, Hudson, Fla. hosts a Senior Bowling Tournament which attracts more than 500 bowlers and guests, is also a fund-raiser for BVL.  Held the last weekend of July and the first two weekends of August, the Tournament is an opportunity for old friends to catch up and do some good for America’s veterans.

The senior bowlers and the event coordinators really appreciate the management and staff at Hudson Bowl.  With most of the bowlers retired and on a fixed income, Hudson Bowl holds down the prices for the participants.

Thanks to Hudson Bowl for supporting our cause in word and in deed!

Fox Bowl, Wheaton, Ill.

Fox Bowl first became involved with BVL through the “Bowlers Salute America’s Troops” portable carpet kit campaign for active duty service men and women.

Fox Bowl proprietors Tom and Kim Sims shipped two kits to young men from their area who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Although they knew they liked the concept, when they received the response from the units and saw how BVL programs make a difference in the lives of America’s troops, they became impassioned supporters of BVL.

As part of her BVL campaign, Kim has created BVL bulletin boards in the center featuring photos of the carpet kit lanes in use on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as names and photos of service men and women from their community — both active duty and veterans.

Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, Craig, CO

Thunder Rolls is on the BVL map by making their center the new community focal piece for veterans — coordinating a variety of activities to support area service men and women and the BVL.

They began the weekend after Veterans Day 2010 when they hosted a day of free bowling for veterans.  That same weekend, all open bowling proceeds went to the BVL fund-raising effort.  The bowling center also coordinated a flag dedication ceremony with the American flag and a POW flag.  Area media covered the Thunder Rolls activities several times throughout the fund-raising time period.  They also gave away BVL jackets and polo shirts in drawings and sold raffle tickets for 5 Freedom balls.

The result?  Thunder Rolls donated more than $3,000 to help brighten the days and boost the spirits of those who sacrificed for our country.


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