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Adam Shibley '17 Founds TUFF to Provide Uniforms to Youth Sports Teams in Need

By Joe Ginley '12 , 07/05/19, 1:15PM EDT


Shibley starred at linebacker for the Wildcats in 2015 and 2016.

Adam Shibley '17 has been a busy man since graduating from Saint Ignatius High School.

Shibley headed to the University of Michigan, committing to play football for the Wolverines. The proud Linebacker Legion member decided to major in Communications and minor in Entrepreneurship, no small feat while balancing the huge time commitment of playing a Division I sport. And this summer, Shibley began an internship with Xenith, a football helmet and equipment company based in Detroit. 

All the while, Shibley has been working to establish a non-profit called The Uniform Funding Foundation (TUFF).

Shibley hatched the idea last year and quickly began work to get it off of the ground. Launching a non-profit involves a ton of work. You need to develop a name and brand, acquire funding, set up a website, and communicate the mission to the wider community. But Shibley gladly took on the extra work in his spare time, passionate about the mission of his new non-profit – to provide uniforms to youth sports teams in need. 

“Growing up I always had the privilege to wear high-quality uniforms on all of my sports teams," Shibley said. "Uniforms build a sense of unity and pride for a team and its players. The emotions that ran through my body as I would receive my uniform and try it on for the first time were empowering, and I want to ensure kids across the country get to experience those emotions."

Shibley, a co-captain for the 2016 State Runner-up Wildcats, found a perfect recipient for TUFF's first donation: the Garden Valley Falcons.

A member of the Cleveland Municipal Football League, the Falcons were happy to receive a donation for full sets of new uniforms and accessories from TUFF. 

"It’s really encouraging that a young man like Adam has the vision and desire to reach into the inner city and make a difference," said Danny Solomon, coordinator for the Garden Valley Falcons Youth Football & Mentoring program. "It’s much appreciated and should be an inspiration to others with the means to make an impact in our communities." 

Another aspect of the non-profit is TUFF Talks. Whenever uniforms are donated, an influential athlete or business professional will speak to the young student-athletes in the program. Shibley is excited about this aspect of his non-profit.

"I'm trying to change the lives of many under-resourced youth athletes," Shibley said. "TUFF combines my Jesuit training to be a man for others and my passion for designing sports uniforms. Starting in Cleveland, it allows me to directly affect the lives of youth athletes that are growing up in the same major city I had the privilege to grow up in.”

Shibley's coaches at Saint Ignatius are very proud of his work. Count Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Ryan Franzinger '02 as among the coaches impressed with the former All-Ohio linebacker. 

"It's great to see him bringing together his personality, his gifts, and his love for the game of football, and spreading it to others. In a way, he's performing a football corporate work of mercy," Franzinger said. "He's clothing people and giving kids what they need in order to play the game. Obviously, football has impacted his life, and impacts people in different ways. He realizes, in an Ignatian and Christian way, that he was given certain opportunities and now he wants to share that with others, so that others have the opportunity he had. That's really impressive.

"Adam was one of the best leaders I've ever coached. He sticks out for those leadership abilities and how he treated his teammates and coaches. That wasn't something that just occurred when he was a senior or captain. He has certain innate qualities that people gravitate towards."

To support Shibley's non-profit or to learn more about TUFF, visit: