Helms Athletic Foundation
SuccessorLA84 Foundation
PurposeAthletics, Sportsmanship
HeadquartersLos Angeles

The Helms Athletic Foundation, founded in 1936, was a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to the promotion of athletics and sportsmanship.[1] Paul H. Helms was the organization's founder and benefactor,[2] funding the foundation via his ownership of Helms Bakery.[3] Bill Schroeder founded the organization with Helms and served as its managing director.[4] The men were united in a love of amateur athletic competition.[5]

Schroeder brought to the partnership a large personal collection of sports memorabilia.[4] He sought a corporate sponsor to finance a hall of fame to house his collection and to present awards to local athletes.[4][5]

The idea was taken seriously by Paul Helms, who was himself invested in athletics both personally and professionally.[5][1] The bakery with which he made his fortune was a sponsor of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics,[1] and "Helms Olympic Bread" continued to be associated with the competition. The foundation was originally known as the Helms Olympic Athletic Foundation.

In 1936, with Helms' backing, Schroeder set to work from a rented office in downtown Los Angeles.[5] As the foundation's only employee, he issued frequent announcements of the selections he made for the Helms Athletic Foundation's various and numerous awards.[6]

The foundation dedicated Helms Hall in 1948.[6] The purpose-built building adjacent to Helms Bakery near Culver City housed a museum for the sports artifacts originally collected by Schroeder, as well as the Helms Hall of Fame.[5]

Schroeder selected the foundation's national champion teams and made All-America team selections in a number of college sports, including football and basketball.[7]

The Helms Foundation began releasing Schroeder's national championship selections for college basketball in 1943, when in February 1943 it published his retroactive picks for the national champion for each year from the 1919–20 through 1941–42 seasons.[2][8][9] Later in 1943, Schroeder picked a national basketball champion for the 1942–43 season, and he continued to select national basketball champions for the Helms Foundation annually through the 1981–82 season, its final year of selections.[10] In 1957, the Helms Foundation also released Schroeder's retroactive picks for the college basketball champions for the 1900–1901 through 1918–19 seasons.[9] The retroactive Helms national championships from 1900–01 through 1941–42 were the well-researched opinions of one person about teams that played during an era when, due to factors outside their control (e.g., minimal schedules, lack of intersectional play, differing rule interpretations, minimal statistics), it is difficult to know or assess the relative strength of the teams.[10]

In 1947, Schroeder retroactively selected national champions in college football dating from that year[7][10][self-published source?] back to the 1883 season.[10] The Helms Foundation also operated a hall of fame for both college basketball and college football. Besides collegiate athletics, the foundation operated halls of fame for professional football, Major League Baseball, the Pacific Coast League, basketball, fencing, golf, tennis, swimming, auto racing, track and field,[11] and soaring.[12]

After Paul Helms' death in 1957, his family continued supporting the foundation until 1969, when the bakeries went out of business.[13] Schroeder found a new benefactor in United Savings & Loan,[13] and the foundation's name became United Savings–Helms Athletic Foundation.[14][15] United merged with Citizens Savings & Loan in 1973, when the foundation became the Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation.[13] It was again renamed in 1982 when First Interstate Bank assumed sponsorship, and it became the First Interstate Bank Athletic Foundation.[16][17] Paul Helms started Helms Bakery in Southern California, which was the official bread (Helms Olympic bread) of the 1932 Olympics. Helms Hall was located on 8760 Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The Helms Olympics neon sign still can be seen on top of the building.

When the Helms Foundation dissolved, its historical holdings were absorbed into the collection of the Amateur Athletic Foundation, renamed the LA84 Foundation in 2007.

National championship selections

  1. ^ "A 'championship' is something that is won, most generally on the field of play against direct competition. A 'title' is something that is given or awarded by someone else, in honor of an achievement or as a designation of being considered the best at something. While it is generally true that winning a championship also involves a title being associated with it, the converse does not always hold. In many cases, a title can be given without a formal championship or competition being held at all. In other words, being awarded a title does not necessarily confer that a championship was even present much less attained. In earlier years of collegiate basketball, there are many titles that can be claimed, some which are associated with winning a tournament (e.g. NCAA Tournament or NIT) and some which are not (Associated Press #1, highest attendance, top Sagarin Rating). The latter do not constitute a championship. It is into this group that the Helms title falls."[10]

World Trophy

The World Trophy, originally known as the Helms Award,[35] was an annual sporting award established by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1939 to honor the foremost amateur athlete of each continent of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.[36] Even though the foundation was established in 1936, the awards date back to 1896, the year of the first Summer Olympics.


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Famed sportsman, Paul Helms, dies". The Birmingham News. Birmingham, Alabama. Associated Press. January 6, 1957. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Helms Athletic Foundation Collegiate Basketball Record Part II (preface)" (Press release). Los Angeles: Helms Athletic Foundation. February 1943. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  3. ^ Thus, the name was a misnomer, as there actually was no foundation in place to sustain the operation.
  4. ^ a b c Thomas, Pete (December 24, 1987). "Bill Schroeder, 83, Dies; Began Helms Museum". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e McBride, C. E. (January 13, 1951). Written at Los Angeles. "Two Men's Love of Athletics Led to the Helms Foundation". The Kansas City Star. Kansas City. Retrieved November 17, 2022. Bill Schroeder had an idea for promoting sports competitions and presenting awards and Paul Helms had wealth to make the program possible.
  6. ^ a b McConnell, Jim (August 19, 2008). "Helms bread rose from Olympic ties". Long Beach Press Telegram. Long Beach, California. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Jenkins, Dan (September 11, 1967), "This Year The Fight Will Be in the Open", Sports Illustrated, Chicago, IL: Time Inc., 27 (11): 28–34, retrieved March 16, 2016
  8. ^ a b "Wildcats of 1933". Lexington Herald–Leader. Lexington, Kentucky. February 25, 1943. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d "Slants on Sports: Helms Foundation Basketball". Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. June 8, 1962. Retrieved November 19, 2022. The selections cover from 1900 to the present, but they have been made annually only since 1943. The 1920–1942 selections were made early in 1943, and the 1900–1920 data was not compiled until 1957, and then only after exhaustive study.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Scott, Jon (Nov 9, 2010). "The truth behind the Helms Committee". Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Twenty-One Greats to be Enshrined in PCL Hall of Fame". Pacific Coast League. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  12. ^ Cumming, M. (1966). The Powerless Ones: Gliding in Peace and War. Frederick Muller Ltd., London
  13. ^ a b c Drooz, Alan (January 15, 1981). "New Home Being Sought for Southland's Sports Hall of Fame". Los Angeles Times. p. 12. Retrieved December 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Hall, John (August 31, 1976). "So Help Me". Los Angeles Times. Part III, p. 2. Retrieved December 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "Raymond Lewis, Verbum Dei Guard, Named Top CIF 'AAA' Basketball Player For '71 Season" (Press release). United Savings–Helms Athletic Foundation. March 24, 1971. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  16. ^ "RALPH SAMPSON, JAMES WORTHY TOP 1982 COLLEGE BASKETBALL ALL-AMERICA TEAM SELECTIONS" (Press release). First Interstate Bank Athletic Foundation. April 3, 1982. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  17. ^ "Templeton Makes Public Apology, Rejoins Cardinals for Road Trip". Los Angeles Times. September 15, 1981. Part III, p. 4. Retrieved December 4, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ Anonymous, "How the NCAA Overtook Its Rival, the NIT," Sport History Weekly, March 24, 2019 Accessed May 4, 2021
  19. ^ "Badgers Rated Nation's No. 1". Wisconsin State Journal. Madison, Wisconsin. January 11, 1943. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  20. ^ Written at Los Angeles. "Name Army Gridmen National Champions". Republican and Herald. Pottsville, Pennsylvania. United Press. January 11, 1945. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  21. ^ "Helms Board Tabs Bagnell Year's Best". The Los Angeles Mirror. Los Angeles. December 11, 1950. Retrieved November 18, 2022. the Helms board selected Oklahoma as mythical national champion
  22. ^ "Helms Selects Alabama No. 1". The Montgomery Advertiser. Montgomery, Alabama. January 6, 1962. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  23. ^ "USC Selected By Helms Group". Herald and News. Klamath Falls, Oregon. January 10, 1963. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  24. ^ "Ho Hum; 'Horns Receive Another No. 1 Rating". The Austin American. Austin, Texas. January 7, 1964. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  25. ^ "Hogs To Receive Helms Trophy". Northwest Arkansas Times. Fayetteville, Arkansas. February 3, 1965. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  26. ^ "State Still Grid Champion". Lansing State Journal. Lansing, Michigan. January 9, 1966. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  27. ^ Written at Los Angeles. "Helms Foundation Votes Irish And State Co-Champs". Battle Creek Enquirer. Battle Creek, Michigan. Associated Press. January 15, 1967. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  28. ^ Written at Los Angeles. "Helms Picks Trojans As No. 1 Grid Team". The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento, California. Associated Press. January 16, 1968. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  29. ^ Written at Los Angeles. "'Horns Hang Helms Award On Crowded Trophy Tree". Austin American–Statesman. Austin, Texas. January 9, 1970. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  30. ^ "Huskers Claim Helms Trophy". Lincoln Journal Star. Lincoln, Nebraska. January 7, 1971. Retrieved November 1, 2022. The United Savings–Helms Athletic Foundation college football national championship trophy will be presented to Nebraska in the near future.
  31. ^ "Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation 1975". The Daily Oklahoman. Oklahoma City. January 9, 1976. Retrieved November 14, 2022. The Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation, formerly known as the Helms Athletic Foundation, has named Oklahoma and Ohio State national co-champions for the 1975 season.
  32. ^ "Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation 1978". Alabama Journal. Montgomery, Alabama. January 10, 1979. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  33. ^ "Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation 1979". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. January 9, 1980. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  34. ^ "Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation 1980". The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento. January 7, 1981. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  35. ^ "All-Round Australians". The Age. December 19, 1999. p. Sport-12. Retrieved May 14, 2020 – via Newspapers.com. Also captained South Australia in Australian Rules state matches six times, and his CV included rave reviews as a baseballer, golfer and player of tennis, billiards and lacrosse, winning the World Trophy (formerly the Helms Award).
  36. ^ "Helms Athletic Foundation" (PDF). Bulletin du Comite International Olympique. No. 25. 1951. pp. 26–28.