BTF completes record year of giving
Program promotes growth of baseball, softball around world
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund has awarded more than $2 million in grants to a record 70 recipients in 2010, including fourth-quarter grants totaling more than $475,000 to nine communities across the United State and Puerto Rico.
A joint program formed by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, Baseball Tomorrow Fund promotes the growth of youth baseball and softball throughout the world by awarding grants to support field renovation and construction projects, equipment and uniform purchases, coaches training material and other selected program expenses.
The 70 grant recipients this year is the most since BTF's inception in 1999. More than 27,000 youth players in 61 communities were served and more than $2 million was awarded to support youth softball and baseball programs.
It was also the sixth consecutive year Baseball Tomorrow Fund hosted an annual "Equipment Day" at big league ballparks. MLB clubs collected more than 10,300 pieces of equipment and over $31,800 in cash donations to support each club's local youth baseball initiatives and programs.
The latest round of grants included: Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Ferris, Texas; Frankfort, Ky.; Grant Island, Neb.; Huntington Park, Calif.; Irvington, N.J.; Lawrence, Mass.; Oskaloosa, Iowa, and Union City, Ga.
Following are details for each community's BTF grant:
Raiders Baseball, Inc. (Bayamon, Puerto Rico): The grant will provide funding for the purchase of baseball equipment to support additional teams and field equipment at their year-round baseball instruction complex in the Municipality of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The non-profit organization provides instruction to develop future college baseball players, and, so far, 14 players have received college-baseball scholarships to universities in the United States. The grant will serve a projected 200 participants.
City of Ferris (Ferris, Texas): The grant will provide funding for field renovations to two baseball fields used by the Ferris Baseball & Softball Association. Upon completion of the renovation, the league will create a fall league, becoming the North Ellis County hub for the Challenger Division for children with disabilities, and will offer a junior girls summer softball tournament. Nearly 300 children are projected to be served.
Woodford Parks Foundation, Inc. (Frankfort, Ky.): The grant will provide funding for the installation of Musco Lighting equipment to complete construction of a new softball field that will benefit nearly 260 children. Woodford Parks Foundation is a non-profit organization established to support the maintenance and capital construction of recreational facilities in Woodford County.
City of Grand Island (Grand Island, Neb.): The grant will provide funding for the purchase of batting cages, pitching machines, portable pitching mounds and pitching tunnels at the recently constructed 70,000 square-foot Community Field House, which provides year-round training opportunities for nearly 5,000 youth. The field house will also be used by the Nebraska State Fair for two months each summer.
City of Huntington Park (Huntington Park, Calif.): The grant will provide funding to install a lighted, divided batting cage and protective netting along the perimeter of four baseball and softball fields at Salt Lake Park. The City of Huntington Park Parks and Recreation Department has provided youth baseball and softball since 1999 and 2000, respectively. The funds will benefit nearly 800 youth.
Department of Parks and Recreation, Township of Irvington (Irvington, N.J.): The grant will provide funding for the renovation of a Little League baseball field and practice field. The grant also includes the purchase of equipment and uniforms to support the local youth league of over 120 participants. The renovations are being made to address the recent decline in participation and field conditions and to provide a safe alternative for the community's at-risk children.
Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. (Lawrence, Mass.): The grant will provide funding for the purchase of equipment and uniforms for 288 participants in the Roberto Clemente Little League, which consists of 18 teams. For 44 years, the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council has improved life for low-income residents of Lawrence, Methuen, Andover and North Andover, Mass.
Mahaska Community Recreation Foundation (Oskaloosa, Iowa): The grant will provide funding for infield and warning track material and fencing for the construction of a five-field complex. The fields will serve approximately 1,200 players, ages 5-16. The complex will be constructed in a low-income community in Oskaloosa, and will serve the Oskaloosa Little League, Mahaska County Little League and 12 travel teams.
Synergistic Youth Enterprise, Inc. (Union City, Ga.): The grant will provide funding to purchase team equipment and one set of uniforms for the Synergistic Youth Enterprise (SYE) Academic Athletics Program baseball program serving 60 children. SYE is a non-profit, community-led after-school program created in 2001 to support children living in underserved areas of South Fulton County. The baseball program was established in 2010 to increase participation in baseball, incorporating mandatory participation in weekly tutoring sessions and monthly service projects.
Since its formation by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1999, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has awarded over 520 grants totaling more than $19 million to non-profit and tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Approximately 220,000 youth players have benefited from programs and facilities supported by the Fund.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund receives approximately 500 applications each year and awards grants on a quarterly basis after a selective review process. For more information, visit www.baseballtomorrowfund.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.