Peggy Kirkpatrick named executive director of Gary Pinkel's GP M.A.D.E. Foundation.

In this Missourian file photo from 2015, Peggy Kirkpatrick speaks during a news conference.

Peggy Kirkpatrick will head former MU football coach Gary Pinkel’s new GP M.A.D.E. Foundation, the organization announced in a press release Thursday.

Kirkpatrick said her hope is to grow GP M.A.D.E. “into something that is very powerful — in a philanthropic way” to “help as many children and youth in need as possible.”

Kirkpatrick, the longtime executive director of the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri until her retirement in 2014, took on the GP M.A.D.E. executive director role at the beginning of August because she is convinced that Pinkel shares her passion for helping children and youth.

Kirkpatrick said she has worked with Pinkel for 15 years and was impressed by his commitment to collaborating with the food bank. For example, when he became MU head football coach, he opted to continue the “Score Against Hunger” campaign.

“Most football coaches stop programs their predecessor had, but not Gary,” she said.

The GP M.A.D.E. Foundation, which Pinkel announced in April, aims to raise funds to support children and youth facing lymphoma and leukemia, physical challenges and economic and social challenges. Its name stands for making a difference every day.

Kirkpatrick said the goal is to raise at least $365,000 a year, an average of $1,000 a day, and that they have about $150,000 yet to raise this year. One planned fundraising effort for October and November involves MU football watch parties with Pinkel and former MU players.

The foundation plans to start distributing scholarships by the end of the year. Other specific plans for using funds are still in progress. Kirkpatrick said she couldn’t say yet whether GP M.A.D.E. will primarily start its own programs or distribute money to existing organizations that work on its focus areas.

Kirkpatrick’s “experience is second to none in the world of not-for-profits. Peggy brings with her extreme knowledge, professionalism and passion to secure success for the foundation’s future,” Pinkel said in the press release.

Kirkpatrick said her 35 years of fundraising and marketing experience and her many contacts in the region make her a good fit for the job. She anticipates her biggest challenge will be “keeping up with Gary.”

“He’s an extremely energetic guy,” she said.

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