As part of the national collection program, the Washington Nationals are teaming with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to collect new and used baseball equipment at RFK Stadium on Friday, September 23 prior to the Nationals game against the New York Mets 7:05 pm (EDT). All collected equipment will be donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Field of Dreams and the Washington D.C. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. In addition, in support of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund/Nationals equipment drive, Nationals corporate sponsor Modell's Sporting Goods has donated $4,000 worth of baseball equipment.
In recognition of the program, Cathy Bradley, Executive Director, Baseball Tomorrow Fund, and Screech, the Nationals mascot, will present a ceremonial check to Tim Sheahan, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Bruce Adams, Field of Dreams, and Keith Stubbs, Washington, D.C. RBI, during a pre-game ceremony at RFK Stadium. Warren Eckel, Washington, D.C. District Manager, Modell's Sporting Good also will participate in the ceremony.
This marks the first year the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has teamed with Major League Baseball Clubs to augment their existing equipment collection programs and to help facilitate the creation of new programs. In support of the initiative, participating Clubs collect new and used equipment at their ballparks prior to a selected home game(s) and donate the equipment to a local youth baseball or softball organization chosen by the Club. To date, more than 3,600 items have been collected for distribution to youth organizations. In support of the initiative, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund awards a total of $5,000 to youth baseball or softball organizations in each participating market. Baseball Tomorrow Fund grants will be used to purchase new equipment for the 2006 season.
RBI, one of the many MLB initiatives focused on increasing youth participation and interest in baseball and softball, is a youth outreach program designed to promote interest in baseball, increase the self-esteem of disadvantaged children, and encourage kids to stay in school and off the streets. Managed in conjunction with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Official Charity of Major League Baseball, RBI programs have been started in more than 200 cities worldwide, and annually have provided as many as 120,000 boys and girls the opportunity to play baseball and softball. The Washington Nationals sponsor the Washington, D.C. RBI league.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) comprises a national network of some 3,400 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving more than 4 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as "The Positive Place for Kids," the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Boys & Girls Clubs programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career enhancement, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.
Field of Dreams is an out-of-school time program initiative of A Greater Washington (AGW) that is managed in collaboration with Washington, D.C. RBI. Field of Dreams supports youth baseball and softball in the District of Columbia as a means of developing the athletic and life skills of young people in disadvantaged areas of the city. The mission of the Field of Dreams program is to develop the athletic, educational, and life skills of young boys and girls in D.C.'s disadvantaged areas while increasing their self-esteem. The program is motivated by the belief that there is great value in combining athletic, educational, and citizenship training in a way that connects and reinforces all three for children.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund was created to promote and enhance the growth of baseball throughout the world, provides funding for programs, field improvements and equipment purchases that encourage and maintain youth participation in baseball and softball. Since its inception in 1999, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has awarded grants totaling more than $8.5 million. These grants have benefited more than 100,000 children participating in more than 170 youth baseball and softball programs across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands and Europe.
For more information about Baseball Tomorrow Fund visit: www.baseballtomorrowfund.com.