If you attend a trading card show you might notice there could be a little more diversity with both attendees and dealers. There is certainly have been major strides made with regard to this, but one segment that could use greater representation is black and African-American communities. This is a bit surprising considering so many professional athletes are black and African-American so it seems strange there are not more black and African-American collectors and dealers chasing their cards. While manufacturers have done more to market to that segment of the audience, there is still certainly more that can be done. Trading cards are really for everyone!
We’d like you to meet an African-American dealer named Anthony Dovine from Illinois. Anthony has been in the industry for some time and is a staple at larger shows like the National Sports Collectors Convention. Anthony is passionate about developing the next generation of collectors and giving those without means to collect the opportunity to experience the hobby. Anthony is all about inclusion and his focus isn’t just to help kids of color, but any child who lacks the ability to experience collecting. He started the R.I.S.E. program to do just that. The letters all have meaning in Anthony’s program:
R – Respect
I – Inspire
S – Support
E – Elevate
Dealers like Anthony can make a killing at trading card shows, but he chose to dedicate his space to do something besides selling cards. He worked with Megan Broggi from the National Sports Collectors Convention to bring kids in at no cost and share cards with them. Anthony got donations, but frequently spent his own money to provide cards, school supplies and more to underprivileged kids. He distributed them to youth he brought to the show from communities without as many resources as more affluent ones. Anthony teaches the kids about the fun of collecting cards, the history of the industry and provides a lot of inspiration to these youngsters. He even feeds the kids who come.
At Upper Deck we believe Anthony’s efforts are worth highlighting and we are proud to share we have added Anthony to the company’s Heroic Inspirations program. Anthony is getting his very own Upper Deck trading card! Recently we got to reveal Anthony’s new trading Upper Deck Heroic Inspirations trading card to him. We are sending him larger versions and will move into production for standard card-sized versions to distribute to families and youngsters he works with.
Kudos to what Anthony has done to help cultivate the next generation of collectors while also giving so many youngsters the opportunity to experience collecting cards. Anthony has big things planned for the 2022 National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City and Upper Deck is excited to help him, the kids he brings in and the R.I.S.E. program as a whole.