The “Jeopardy Tournament of Champions” final round concluded on May 28, with the $250,000 grand prize being matched and donated to the upcoming Hope of the Valley Trebek Center for the Homeless in Northridge.
The show’s annual “Tournament of Champions,” features 15 previous winners facing off in the trivia game and concludes with a matched donation to charities; past recipients included Media Fellowship House and Justice Defenders. Sam Kavanaugh, a five-time winner of the show prior to the tournament, won the grand prize this year and Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission was selected as recipient of this year’s charity gift. Over the years, “Jeopardy” has donated a total of $1.25 million guest hosts’ charities of choice, an amount determined by the cumulative winnings of contestants during their weeks as host.
“We are absolutely honored to be the recipient of this year’s ‘Tournament of Champions’ charity donation,” Ken Craft, chief executive of Hope of the Valley, said of the gift.
The Valley Trebek Center, to be developed in the former Skateland roller skating rink at 18140 Parthenia St., was renamed the Alex Trebek Center in March after a $500,000 donation from the late “Jeopardy” host’s estate and will be open later this year. The 23,000-square-foot interim housing facility, run by the Pacoima-based nonprofit, will contain 107 beds and provide mental health services, job training and placement and substance abuse counseling for people experiencing homelessness.
“It’s even going to have a library and reading area and it’ll be all Alex (Trebek’s) books to line those walls. He really wanted the books to come to Hope of the Valley,” Craft said.
In addition to Trebek’s book collection, the new shelter will feature a garden therapy area outside, a “Jeopardy”-inspired wall which will list donor names, as well as a wall of preserved wooden planks from the Skateland roller rink to honor the business that closed as a result of the pandemic. The original signs from Skateland and wood planks will be preserved by Valley Relics Museum in Van Nuys.
“We will definitely make this an incredible facility for people that have unfortunately hit bottom, but they’re on their way back up,” Craft said. Plans have been submitted for construction, which Craft said should begin in June and the shelter should be open by December.
Hope of the Valley, in partnership with the city of Los Angeles, has rapidly expanded its locations. The mission opened an 85-bed shelter in North Hollywood, a 100-bed shelter in Van Nuys and two resource centers over the last year, in addition to three tiny home communities which have opened since January.