On Sunday, Joe recapped the recent activities of Yankees during the delay. In his article, he highlighted participation in the “All in Challenge” by those including CC Sabathia, Aaron Judge, Aaron Boone, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez. Beating the COVID-19 pandemic will take a community-wide effort, and it is admirable to see some of the biggest names in the game stepping up and leading by example.
This got me thinking about other ways in which Yankees both past and present have contributed to their communities. It turns out that many Yankees carry over the organization’s mission of integrity into their lives off the field. From support for low-income communities to disaster relief, Yankees players are using their celebrity as a force of good.
There is no doubting that CC Sabathia is a leading example across all professional sports league when it comes to charity work. Along with his wife Amber, he founded the PitCCh In Foundation in 2008 to provide educational and athletic support to inner city youth. The foundation achieves its mission thanks to three core programs.
The first program is the All-Star Baseball Clinic, which operates in Vallejo, CA and in New York City. It provides year-round instruction to children ages five through twelve, and in recent years has enlisted the help of former teammate Dellin Betances.
PitCCH In also holds an annual Backpack Program at the start of every school year. This initiative has provided backpacks and school supplies to at-risk communities in Vallejo, CA and the Bronx. To date, the program has provided over 36,000 supply-filled book-bags to elementary school kids.
The Foundation also operates the Field Renovation Program to support baseball fields and youth centers. So far, the program has invested over $800,000 in field and community center renovations.
It appears that Sabathia’s charitable spirit rubbed off on Aaron Judge. In 2018, Judge created the ALL RISE Foundation to encourage growth in underprivileged children. The Foundation hosts activities that are aimed at promoting the desire to be a responsible, engaged citizen.
The Foundation hosts a yearly free youth baseball camp. This ProCamps baseball clinic focus not only on skills, but also on character development and academic improvement. In conjunction with fundraising efforts associated with these camps, ALL RISE is able to fund mini-grants to youths who demonstrate the Foundation’s values in their activities and community involvement.
ALL RISE has also partnered with PepsiCo’s GENYOUth to promote the “Fuel Up to Play 60” initiative in public schools. This movement is aimed at improving in-school nutrition and physical activity. Judge has expanded the Foundation’s involvement in schools by helping send high school delegates to the California Association of Directors of Activities yearly leadership conferences.
Giancarlo Stanton has a very personal connection with his charity involvement. Ever since his facial injury with the Marlins in 2014, which required extensive dental reconstruction, Stanton has partnered with the Spodak Dental Group to create the All-Star Smiles Foundation.
The Foundation provides free dental care to underserved children, with the mission of preventing childhood tooth decay. To date, All-Star Smiles has provided care and screening to hundreds of children.
I always felt that Granderson was one of the most considerate Yankees, and this certainly carried over into his off-field work. In 2007, he founded the Grand Kids Foundation to teach kids about the importance of education, physical fitness, and nutrition. Over the last 13 years, the foundation has impacted over two million children in 34 cities.
Each year, Grand Kids hosts Summer Series baseball camps and has partnered with New Balance for the Fitness Challenge to promote children’s physical health. The Foundation also pledged $1 million to restore athletic facilities in Brooklyn damaged by Hurricane Sandy, as well as donating tens of thousands of school supplies.
The Foundation also has a heavy focus on food insecurity. To date, it has donated over 37 million meals to families in need. Recently, Grand Kids has focused it efforts to alleviating the strain caused by COVID-19, matching food donations to Grand Giving food bank partners.
Brett Gardner was the 2017 Yankees nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his work with the Taylor Hooten Foundation. Gardner is a current board member with the Foundation’s All Me League initiative, which creates awareness in youth and high school athletics as to the dangers of PED use.
The former Yankee reliever was deeply impacted by the 2011 tornadoes in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, AL. Therefore, he created the High Socks for Hope Foundation. This charity organizes housing relief missions in response to natural disaster. So far, they have helped refurbish over 1,500 homes that have been damaged by hurricanes, flooding, and tornadoes.
High Socks for Hope also created the Valor Grove Project to provide housing assistance to veterans who are transitioning from military to civilian life. The Foundation’s veteran assistance also extends to collecting memorial donations for the families of veterans.
Yankees players are the utmost representatives of club, league, and athletes in general with their community involvement. Many feel they have a higher mission than athletic performance, and recognize the opportunity afforded to them in their high-profile positions. In these trying times, it is nice to be reminded of the good still being done by the players we support, giving us further reason to cheer for them whether they are playing or not. We can all look to these exemplary individuals as illustrations of the efforts we can be making to help our communities.