Funds Will Support Grants Toward Youth Baseball & Softball Participation,
Workforce Development & Career Readiness, a Nationwide PSA, and More
Major League Baseball (MLB) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) today announced a five-year renewal, through 2025, to celebrate the partnership’s 25th anniversary. MLB has committed $5 million to Boys & Girls Clubs to support grant funding toward growing participation of youth baseball & softball, workforce development & career readiness programs, a national public service announcement (PSA) campaign, and BGCA activations throughout the season. The 25th anniversary will be celebrated throughout the 2021 season, including during the 118th World Series in October.
“Over the last 25 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has offered Major League Baseball and our Clubs the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of young people throughout the country,” said Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “Together, we have introduced baseball and softball to young people, improved the Clubs where they learn and play, and provided unforgettable experiences to children in our communities. We hope our partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America will continue to inspire young people to dream big and help them recognize their unlimited potential.”
“Boys & Girls Clubs of America is thrilled to celebrate the 25th anniversary as Major League Baseball’s first official charity. We are so grateful for the many life-changing opportunities MLB has provided to Club youth—from innovative programming and field renovations to the creation of tech centers and teen rooms,” said Jim Clark, Boys & Girls Clubs of America President & CEO. “Our partnership has been transformational for communities across the country, and we look forward to working with MLB to support the next generation of baseball fans and future leaders.”
Nearly $2 million will be committed toward “PLAY BALL” grants, which will support participation growth in youth baseball and softball among Boys & Girls Club kids. The grants will be designated toward the development of both new and established programs, with a significant portion specifically devoted to girls’ softball or baseball. Among the eligible programs for Boys & Girls Clubs to choose from include Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities leagues/teams (MLB.com/rbi) or PLAY BALL events and programs (PlayBall.org). Thousands of Boys & Girls Clubs kids have played in RBI programs since the partnership began in 1997. Additionally, since 2016, MLB has invested $1.5 million for baseball field and facility renovations across 33 Boys & Girls Clubs.
Grants will be given to BGCA affiliates through 2025 for programs geared toward workforce development and career readiness programs, as well as work experience opportunities with MLB Clubs, the Commissioner’s Office and MLB Network. Additional opportunities through this “MLB At Work” effort will include MLB & Club employee engagements. Since 2016, nearly 350 “Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream” Scholarships, totaling more than $800,000, were awarded to BGCA Members.
MLB and BGCA have sourced a diverse-owned vendor to produce a special PSA to mark this 25th anniversary celebration. The PSA will be rolled out as part of a nationwide campaign to highlight the spirit of what this partnership has meant for both the National Pastime and Boys & Girls Club kids. Since 1997, more than 50 PSAs between MLB and BGCA have been developed, featuring some of the sport’s biggest names, including: Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken, Jr., Frank Thomas, Vladimir Guerrero, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, David Wright, CC Sabathia, Adam Jones, Chris Archer and Francisco Lindor. The star of this year’s PSA campaign, along with the PSA, will be unveiled in May 2021.
Some great moments throughout the 25-year history of this special partnership have been captured in the following highlight video: HERE.
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