Thank you. Two simple words that many of us don’t say enough. Today marks the end of not only 2015 but also, basically, our second year of the “C” You In The Major Leagues Foundation. So, I want to say thank you for supporting us in the early part of our journey. Whether you’ve made a donation to the foundation, attended an event, bought a copy of the More Than A Season book, or bid during our recent online auction, you’ve been a tremendous blessing to us.
2015 was a year of firsts for me and for the foundation. In the spring, Triumph Books released More Than A Season, all of the proceeds from which go directly to the foundation. This past summer, we were able to hire our first director, Matt Fulks. And then, earlier this month, we had our first online auction with some unique sports memorabilia. Then there was the outstanding and relentless run by our Kansas City Royals to win the World Series.
Really, this has been an exciting and quick two years for baseball in Kansas City and “C” You In The Major Leagues, as we’ve grown the foundation toward our ultimate goal, while being able to support our initial four bases. Through your generosity we’ve been able to:
● Provide Christmas presents for children at Ozanam;
● Partner with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City to run a baseball camp, which included bringing in 25 kids from Kansas City’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, and ended with a day on the field at Kauffman Stadium;
● Contribute to the National Center for Fathering;
● Provide tuition and school supplies for an aspiring college student;
● Assist a mother and her three young children who were displaced by a natural disaster;
● Support a youth pastors’ retreat through Safe At Home Ministries;
● Come alongside the “Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City” through the City Union Mission;
● Share our message to thousands of people through speeches and leadership presentations at churches, civic organizations, youth baseball leagues, and various corporations;
● Contribute to the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy.
As we look ahead to 2016, we will be making a greater impact on children in the Kansas City community. I feel that baseball is the greatest platform to grow leaders, and we have an opportunity to put that to work in a huge way. In September it was announced that the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy is becoming a reality near the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This has been a long-time dream of mine to help promote youth baseball to children who may not otherwise be able to play, and to use the sport to develop character-based leaders of the future. The first phase of the Urban Youth Academy is scheduled to open next fall. So, our focus as a foundation in 2016 will be to develop a character-based leadership program and guide focusing on our foundational “C” traits (Care, Character, Coach, Commitment, Competitor, Composure, Comprehension, Concentration, Confidence, and Courage). This program will be used by the nearly 1,000 children coming through the Urban Youth Academy, and it will be available to the greater Kansas City school districts.
Also during 2016 and beyond, we expect to develop a college scholarship program for students in the Academy, and an adult leadership program based on our “C” traits.
With the Royals going to back-to-back World Series, and winning it this past season, there is an incredible excitement for baseball not only from our fans, but also from children who dream of becoming the next Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, or Wade Davis. As the children aspire to playing on a major-league field, we will be helping them develop into young men and women with major-league character off the field.
Whether it’s today, as a year-end tax-deductible donation in 2015 through this link, or in the upcoming days and weeks of 2016, I hope that, in your giving, you’ll choose to partner with “C” You In The Major Leagues as we work toward “Building tomorrow’s leaders through America’s pastime.”