Major League Baseball and the New York Mets hosted a series of community and charitable initiatives and projects leading up to the 84th MLB All-Star Game that will leave a lasting legacy benefiting communities throughout New York City and beyond. MLB and the Mets will donate more than $5 million, through MLB Charities and the New York Mets Foundation, to MLB All-Star projects in the New York metropolitan area and to support national charitable initiatives, among others. The funds were raised from Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 15th.
A youth baseball field at O'Donohue Park was renovated and will be made available with the assistance of local council members to local youth baseball and softball leagues that were affected by Superstorm Sandy. Improvements included new infield mix, regrading of skinned infield and grass outfield to facilitate drainage, amending of existing soil, new sod, and a new irrigation system.
In partnership with Starlight Children's Foundation, a Fun Center mobile entertainment unit - featuring a Nintendo Wii™, DVD player and a Sharp AQUOS™ LCD TV - was unveiled for young patients at Coney Island Hospital.
Special needs children from Little League's Challenger and PONY's Baseball/Softball Champions divisions played a one-inning game on the outfield grass at Citi Field, with the help of volunteers from the Mets.
A beam-signing ceremony commemorated a new 3,000 square foot All-Star Teen Center and Café, which will be constructed as part of an overall $11 million capital improvement program being undertaken by the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens.
The official start of the fifth annual friendly, round-robin tournament took place at the newly renovated Hinton Park. The tournament is designed to provide hundreds of young baseball and softball players from Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) an opportunity to participate in MLB All-Star Week. Opening ceremonies were held at Hinton Park, the site of two newly renovated youth baseball/softball fields, including new Astroturf, fence repairs and improvements to bleachers, walls and handrails.
As an extension of MLB's and the Mets commitment to supporting veterans and their families, especially through the Welcome Back Veterans initiative (WelcomeBackVeterans.org), renovations were made to upgrade and improve the VA Harbor Healthcare System's St. Albans Community Living Center, specifically for an outdoor space that residents can independently use year-round.
A newly renovated outdoor space at PS/IS 41, Francis White Elementary School in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, will be the centerpiece of FirstStepNYC, a New York City mayoral initiative that draws from Educare, a visionary model of early childhood education. The protected play-space for preschoolers and kindergarteners is located within an interior courtyard, which also features a green area for gardening and science activities and a reading literacy corner.
A donation was made in support of City Harvest's fleet of refrigerated trucks damaged during Superstorm Sandy and to help feed New Yorkers in need. Founded in 1982, City Harvest is the world's first food rescue organization - dedicated to feeding the city's hungry men, women and children.
A ceremony was held a on "The Diamond" at T-Mobile All-Star FanFest to commemorate the donation of 25 sports wheelchairs for adaptive athletes who participate in Wheelchair Sports Federation activities, including the Mets Wheelchair Softball Team.
Participants will ran and walked on an All-Star-themed course that began and ended in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, featuring appearances by MLB legends, mascots and celebrity guests.
The 2013 MLB All-Star Charity Concert benefiting Superstorm Sandy Relief starred Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic with a special guest appearance by multiple Grammy Award winner Mariah Carey. The concert, which was free to fans, took place on the iconic Great Lawn at Central Park. In conjunction with the concert, Major League Baseball made a $1 million donation for Superstorm Sandy Relief efforts.
Major League Baseball and 'PEOPLE' magazine recognized veterans and military service members through the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign. This effort was built upon the commitment of both MLB and 'PEOPLE' to honor our country's heroes. One winner from each of the 30 MLB clubs was part of All-Star Week festivities, including being recognized during a pre-game ceremony.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the New York Mets Foundation awarded more than $283,000 in grants to organizations directly impacted by Superstorm Sandy to provide support to maintain or re-establish youth baseball and softball programs and/or facilities. Through this joint initiative, 14 organizations were supported, affecting more than 6,300 children.
This year's Breaking Barriers Essay Contest grand prize winner was Luke Lunday, a fifth grader West Point, NY, whose winning essay was chosen from thousands of entries from across the country and Canada.
MLB hosted seven children with life-threatening medical conditions from Make-A-Wish® who wished to attend the MLB All-Star Game with their families.
MLB partnered with TEAM (Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management) to promote responsible alcohol education through a FanFest attraction and designated driver recognition during the MLB All-Star Game. Anheuser-Busch, celebrating their 31st anniversary of promoting alcohol responsibility, supported this effort through their "Good Sport" program. The program was highlighted throughout Citi Field and MLB Sponsor Zone with kiosks reminding fans to drink responsibly.
The 2013 MLB All-Star Week was committed to the environment by Major League Baseball and its partnership with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) by incorporating a wide variety of environmentally-sensitive efforts, including:
The New York Mets Foundation funds and promotes a variety of educational, social and athletic programs and other charitable causes. Founded in 1963, it continues its mission to invest in the future of our community, and to provide assistance to myriad organizations that benefit children and others in need.
A registered 501©3 charity, the Mets Foundation takes no portion of the funds raised to offset internal costs. The New York Mets pay 100% of the Foundation's overhead to ensure that the entirety of a donation is directed toward helping others. For more information, log on to metsfoundation.org »
The Mets hold their annual Welcome Home Dinner at the start of the season to celebrate the return of the team to New York. The players, manager, coaches and the rest of the organization attend the event that features a fundraising auction, raffle and autograph session. This year's gala at the Hilton New York raised over $500,000 for the Mets Foundation, which was distributed to the Katz Institute for Women's Health and Katz Women's Hospitals of the North Shore-LIJ Health System and the NYC chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The Mets hosted their annual Night to Believe fundraiser in the Big Apple section of Citi Field to benefit Project ALS, a non-profit organization renowned for their outstanding leadership in finding and funding treatments and a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease. Last year's event, which featured Mets ambassadors John Franco and Mookie Wilson, raised $230,000 for a total of over $2 million in the past 10 years. Due to rain on June 7, this year's event has been rescheduled for September 17 on the Pepsi Porch.
The Mets have partnered with ARAMARK the past 11 years to raise over $1.3 million for the Starlight Children's Foundation, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children who suffer from critical, chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The event features the wives of Mets players and coaches, a pre-game reception in the Bullpen Plaza, courtesy of ARAMARK, and seating in the Big Apple section of Citi Field as guests of the Mets.
The Mets and the Ronald McDonald House have teamed up for the past eight years to host an "Evening with the Mets" fundraiser at Citi Field. Held in the Empire party suits, over $220,000 for this home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment has been raised. This year's event is scheduled for September 26.
To honor the memory of Hall of Fame sportswriter Jack Lang, who covered the Mets for over 25 years for the Long Island Press and the Daily News, the Mets support this annual fundraiser hosted by his children for the Epilepsy Foundation of Long Island. This year's fundraising total of $44,000 brought the six-year total to $200,000.
The Mets and broadcast television partner PIX 11 team up each spring to provide an educational and entertaining field trip for students prior to a game at Citi Field. The students fill the field level seats on the third base side as PIX 11 weather experts, Mr. G and Linda Church are positioned on the field to give the kids a behind-the-scenes look, with the assistance of Citi Vision, at how they prepare a weather forecast.
The Mets Foundation and Citi sponsor the YMCA Jr. Mets, a comprehensive youth baseball program that emphasizes athletic and social skills as well as health and wellness. The YMCA Jr. Mets is an eight-week initiative that has introduced thousands of young people to baseball since its inception in 2001. The Mets provide members with caps and arrange for a player and coach to lead a baseball clinic at a YMCA site and at Citi Field.
Since its founding in 1991, the Everybody Wins! Foundation has been a leading non-profit literacy and mentoring organization, pairing caring adult volunteers with children in elementary schools for weekly reading aloud and conversation. For the past 11 years, Mets employees have been matched with a fourth or fifth grade student at PS 92 in Corona, Queens, to share lunch and a good book every week from November through May. The Mets have added their own special touches to the program by arranging a Reading Rally at the school for all of the students, which featured Bobby Parnell and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in April; a Shadow Day at Citi Field to allow reading partners to see their mentors at work; and an annual 4th grade outing to the ballpark for a ballgame.
The Mets/Sharp Electronics Student Athlete Leadership Conference Series trains more than 1,200 student/athletes from 35 high schools on Long Island to deliver drug and alcohol abuse prevention programming to grade school children.
Conducted at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, LI, the workshops prepare the Student Athlete Leaders for their ongoing visits with fifth graders in their school districts. This Student Athlete Leadership Team promotes positive activities such as sports while also educating students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
The Mets and Citi, as part of their landmark partnership, have built on the team's longstanding relationship with the Jackie Robinson Foundation to support its education and leadership development program. The Foundation provides extensive mentoring and scholarships for college students who exemplify Jackie's humanitarian ideals and standard of excellence. The Mets established an endowed scholarship with the Foundation in 1996, which is created in perpetuity, to assist promising students in reaching their goals through a college education.
The Citi Field Kids program was launched in 2009 by Citi, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Mets to inspire and motivate kids to reach their fullest potential. United Neighborhood Houses and the YMCA of Greater New York coordinate the selection of 1,200 area students who will hear about the life and lessons of Jackie Robinson upon their arrival at Citi Field in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars and alumni serve as tour guides before the students hear from Mets alumni and Citi representatives in the auditorium. Then it's on to an afternoon of baseball.
The Mets provide financial support to the Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance (GNYSAA) for citywide tournaments and programs. The GNYSAA serves as an umbrella organization to several metropolitan amateur baseball organizations representing 25,000 young people and 1,500 teams.
The Mets Foundation and Citi sponsor the YMCA Jr. Mets, a comprehensive youth baseball program that emphasizes athletic and social skills as well as health and wellness. The YMCA Jr. Mets is an eight-week initiative that has introduced thousands of young people to baseball since its inception in 2001. The Mets provide members with caps and arrange for a player and coach to lead a baseball clinc at a YMCA site and at Citi Field.
The Mets have hosted their annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament (MLWST) at Shea Stadium and Citi Field since 2001, with the exception of 2010 when the National Wheelchair Softball Tournament was staged in New York for the first time. In partnership with Major League Baseball, New York City's Parks Department, and the Wheelchair Sports Federation, the MLWST attracts as many as eight teams affiliated with an MLB franchise to New York in September for this two-day competition in the parking lot of Citi Field.
Amazin' Calls, powered by National Grid, is a unique program that connects Mets players personally with the public. Throughout the season, the Mets host a guest at Citi Field who has been called by a Mets player in the days leading up to the game. The thrill of speaking with a player is just the start for our VIP, who will then meet him on the field, watch the game from field level seats, and enjoy a video of their meeting on Citi Vision during the game. Guests are chosen for a variety of reasons, such as a "thank you" for an extraordinary accomplishment or to provide a respite from a challenging illness or personal loss. They all can look forward to a day at the ballpark just for them.
The Mets and longtime partners, New York Blood Center, host annual Winter and Summer Blood Drives in the Caesars Club at Citi Field. Since Citi Field opened in 2009, the Mets have been annual recipients of the Blood Center's prestigious Diamond Award while collecting a total of 4,422 points of blood. Each donor receives two tickets to a Mets game.
The Mets provide annual support to the New York Cares Coat Drive with their own "Warm-Up" Holiday Coat Drive at Citi Field in December. Fans who donated one or more coats received a pair of tickets to a Mets game. This year's drive - which collected 1,267 coats - was the most successful one-day drive of 2013 for New York Cares.
"Feeding the Big Apple" presented by the Hain Celestial Group is a hunger relief initiative in which Mets players participate in activities throughout the season with long-time Mets partners City Harvest, Citymeals-on-Wheels, Island Harvest and Rock and Wrap It Up! In addition, food drives are scheduled on the first Saturday home game of each month at Citi Field to allow fans to do their part by dropping off food donations at the City Harvest or Island Harvest truck on Mets Plaza outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Check out all of the photos from Feeding the Big Apple »
The New York Mets hosted their annual Holiday Food Drive for City Harvest at Citi Field in November. Fans who donated at least 10 items of nutritious food received a pair of tickets to a Mets game.
Kids Day at Citi Field has become a tradition for children and families served by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of New York City. The Citi Field grounds crew gives the group a lesson in preparing the field for a game before the kids take a home run dash around the bases. After a lunch break in the Modell's Clubhouse, a Mets player and coach treat the children to a baseball clinic in the outfield.
The Mets continued their tradition of inviting local school children to the ballpark for their annual Kids Holiday Party in December. This year's special guests were 100 students from Far Rockaway whose schools and homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. John Franco reprised his role of Santa Claus for the occasion and Ike Davis was his chief elf, helping out with the serving of lunch and distribution of gifts selected and wrapped by Mets employees.
TeamMets is an initiative designed to bring attention to how people can volunteer in their communities. The ownership, front office, players and staff of the Mets will show their TeamMets spirit by making community service appearances throughout the year in support of this program meant to inspire and encourage our fans to consider their own commitment to volunteerism.
There are many levels of volunteerism, whether it's a visit to your local senior center, library or elementary school or joining one of the many non-profit service organizations located in New York City. To find out more about the variety of ways in which you can serve, visit nycservice.org.
Inspired by the outstanding support of New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy, the Mets and New York Cares launched the "Mets Volunteer Challenge" to encourage Mets fans to participate in volunteer projects throughout New York City this summer. The Challenge will reward fans who complete volunteer projects through September 1. Based on the level of participation, volunteers will receive tickets and recognition at Citi Field. Visit Mets.com/volunteer.
After signing his new contract with the Mets, David Wright, in partnership with the Mets Foundation, donated $250,000 to the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC to aid in Hurricane Sandy recovery. David has set up a program throughout the 2013 season to honor those who stepped up to the plate to help those affected by the storm and to provide a vehicle to inform the public that there is still work to be done.
"The Wright Thing" honorees will meet David on the field, install 3rd base before the game begins, sit along the third base line and enjoy an in-game video feature highlighting their meet and greet with David.
A public service announcement featuring David will be shown on Citi Vision referring fans to NYC Service and New York Cares for volunteer opportunities.
The Mets launched an anti-bullying public service awareness campaign in partnership with NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras (21st District) designed to educate and support our children about all forms of bullying. The content of the PSA's featuring Mets players was developed in conjunction withStopBullying.gov.
Citi Field Kids is an educational and motivational community-based initiative for New York City's middle and high school students developed by Citi, the Mets and the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 2009 in conjunction with the opening of Citi Field. Kids are treated to a tour of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda led by JRF scholars, motivational speeches from special guests in the Auditorium and gift bag and lunch prior to the game.
Founded in 1986, B.A.T. is dedicated to assisting members of the Baseball Family with medical, financial and psychological issues with confidential, short-term assistance to help get them back on their feet. Major League Baseball covers the operating expenses therefore every dollar raised is used to provide assistance to members of the Baseball Family in need. The majority of the funds raised by B.A.T. come from the players who contribute through a payroll deduction program. In 2012, the players contributed more than $2.1 million.
MLB's Mother's Day efforts will once again be highlighted with special programs designed to raise awareness about breast cancer prevention and early detection, while also raising funds to support breast cancer research. The Mets and 29 MLB teams will host the Honorary Bat Girl Contest to raise additional awareness and recognize fans who are "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" in their daily lives. Mother's Day games recognize an Honorary Bat Girl and feature special in-park "pink" programming, including pink ribbon logos on the bases and many players using pink bats.
Mets Chairman & CEO Fred Wilpon and private citizens created Welcome Back Veterans, a national public awareness and fundraising initiative that addresses the mental health needs of America's returning war veterans and their families. Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the McCormick Foundation working with University Hospitals throughout the country, support the program, which provides returning veterans the quality medical treatment they deserve. The Mets salute a "Veteran of the Game" at each home game at Citi Field throughout the season.
The Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Chevy, recognizes the player in Major League Baseball who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team. In September, a nominee from each of the 30 MLB teams is announced on Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by MLB in 2002 to pay homage to the Hall of Famer's legacy. The Mets' 2012 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award was Johan Santana.
Scotts MLB Pitch, Hit and Run -- the official skills competition of Major League Baseball -- is a free grass roots program which encourages youth participation and emphasizes the fun of baseball. The competitor's ability to hit, run, field and throw is tested at regional trials and compared with others in his or her age group across the United States to qualify for the National Finals held during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. The Mets host an on-field regional competition at Citi Field and recognize the local winners in a pre-game ceremony.
Major League Baseball teams up with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to increase awareness and early detection of prostate cancer on Father's Day. On-field personnel wear blue wristbands, eye glare and ribbon uniform decals, while blue ribbon logos appear on bases, commemorative home plates and lineup cards. A "Home Run Challenge" fundraising component is implemented during select MLB games to benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
To support the growth of youth baseball and softball, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) has teamed up with MLB Baseball Clubs to organize equipment collection drives across the United States. The Mets have collected over two thousand baseball and softball bats, gloves, balls and catcher's gear the past six seasons to benefit The Greater New York Sandlot Athletic Alliance, which distributes the donations to area youth baseball organizations. The BTF also presents a grant of $5,000 to go toward the purchase of additional equipment.
In 2012, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) launched the BTF/MLB Field Maintenance Education Program. This program is designed to be a collaboration between MLB Clubs and groundskeepers to conduct field maintenance clinics at MLB stadiums or local youth fields. The Mets' head groundskeeper, Bill Deacon, and his crew participated in the pilot program by hosting a clinic at Citi Field last August.
In conjunction with the clinics, the fund awards a $10,000 grant to a local organization(s) selected by the participating club, which the Mets donated to SNY's Play Ball program to increase their programs $5,000 grants from six to eight. The grant funds are used for the purchase of field maintenance supplies, equipment or services.
The Mets participate annually in the MLB Players Association Buses for Baseball (BFB) program. BFB gives underprivileged kids in the metropolitan area the chance to attend a Major League game as personal guests of the players. The Players Trust partners with local transit authorities and Major League teams, as well as charitable organizations in Major League cities, to share the thrill of a big league game with kids who need more chances to smile. The kids are welcomed by Mets players who spend time signing autographs, giving away souvenirs and posing for photographs. Complimentary food and soft drinks during the game -- and often the chance to see their names on the scoreboard -- provide lasting memories before the bus heads home.
The Mets team up with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society each year to host 100 youth at Citi Field to teach them valuable lessons regarding the importance of exercise and the dangers of steroids. The children learn exercises from the Mets training staff and participate in a question and answer session with a Mets player about the importance of living healthy.
The Mets partner with Major League Baseball umpires to offer memorable baseball game experiences for children awaiting adoption and at-risk youth in mentoring programs. Children receive a VIP experience including great seats to see the Mets at Citi Field, a goody bag of 'all things baseball', and the unique opportunity to step onto the field for a souvenir baseball and photo.