Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Over the past seven years, the Red Sox Foundation has invested more than $28 million in philanthropic efforts that have touched people and communities across New England. It has grown into not only the largest professional sports charity in all of New England, but one of the biggest in Major League Baseball and one that other teams seek out for advice on how to become more strategic in their giving.
In recognition of its work and the example it sets for all of professional sports, the Red Sox Foundation will receive the 2009 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy, which highlights and promotes the impact of strategic, community-oriented giving in professional sports.
“Immediately after we purchased the Red Sox in 2002, one of our biggest priorities was to create a foundation that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of people throughout New England who are facing some of the greatest challenges,” said John Henry, the team’s principal owner. “Boston is one of our nation’s truly great, historic cities, and too often we are divided by walls of race, class and even zip codes. It is obviously a great privilege to be part of a major sports franchise like the Red Sox – and with that privilege, I feel, comes a lot of responsibility. Through this foundation, I feel like we are starting to chip down some of those walls and make a difference.”
The Sports Philanthropy Project (SPP) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the award in 2005 in the memory of Steve Patterson, the UCLA basketball star, NBA player and college coach who became known, during and after his career, for his belief in and practice of the power of sports philanthropy to make a difference in people’s lives. Patterson died of cancer in July 2004 at the age of 56.
The Red Sox Foundation focuses on four cornerstones: Red Sox Scholars, a scholarship and academic enrichment program for low income public school students; the Red Sox RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) and Rookie League Youth Baseball programs, which give children life skills through baseball; the Dimock Center, which supports 30,000 very low-income families in Boston’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods; and The Jimmy Fund, which supports breakthrough research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“The work of the Red Sox Foundation reflects the passion of our players, the generosity of our fans, and the character of Red Sox Nation,” said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “We are humbled by the teamwork that makes this outreach possible.”
Organizations such as the Boston Bar Association, American Heart Association, and National Conference for Community and Justice have recognized the Foundation for its local leadership and collaborative work, and other MLB charities have sought out the Red Sox Foundation for advice in programming, fundraising, attracting and keeping volunteers, leveraging donor and in-kind opportunities.
“The Red Sox Foundation serves as a leader not just within professional baseball but for all of sports philanthropy,” said Greg Johnson, SPP’s executive director. “It is truly an honor to recognize a team from a community where I live and work, where I see their passion for giving back.”
“The Red Sox Foundation has shown great commitment to addressing critical health and social issues,” said RWJF President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. “They demonstrate a lot of what we mean when we say ‘strategic philanthropy’ – programs that are well thought-out, with a real focus on community partnerships and grassroots change.”
Last month, Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis became the first coach to win the “individual” category of the award for his work with the Marvin Lewis Community Fund.
Past recipients of the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy include the Philadelphia Eagles Youth Partnership, Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, The Moyer Foundation, San Francisco Giants Community Fund and Steve Nash Foundation.
The Red Sox Foundation will be recognized at Fenway Park during an on-field ceremony prior to the Red Sox game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, September 12.
“The Red Sox have shown that they share Steve’s commitment to giving back, and they have also developed a body of work that other professional sports teams can learn from,” said Carlette Patterson, president of Patterson Sports Ventures. “We hope this award will encourage others to celebrate Steve’s life and continue his legacy.”
About the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy
The Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy is presented annually by The Sports Philanthropy Project (SPP) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The award acknowledges sports organizations and individual philanthropies that have demonstrated excellence, leadership, and a sustained commitment toward a mission that serves and improves the lives of others. www.sportsphilanthropy.com/patterson.
About the Red Sox Foundation
The official team charity, the Red Sox Foundation is committed to using the power of the Red Sox fan base to improve health, educational and recreational and social service programs for children and families in New England. A registered 501(c)3 charity, the Foundation was founded in 2002, immediately after the group led by Principal Owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, President CEO Larry Lucchino and the team's partners bought the fabled franchise. With the support of fans, NESN and through special fundraising events, the Red Sox Foundation has quickly become one of the largest team charities in Major League Baseball. The Executive Director of the Red Sox Foundation is Red Sox Sr. VP for Corporate Affairs Meg Vaillancourt. For more information, visit www.redsoxfoundation.org.
About The Sports Philanthropy Project (SPP)
The Sports Philanthropy Project (SPP) harnesses the power of sports to help build sustained and comprehensive social programs and services throughout the United States and Canada. SPP services include building partnerships with corporations and foundations; program development for teams and athletes; and building the field of sports philanthropy by providing professional development opportunities, research and best practices for professionals in the field. SPP was launched in 1998 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more information, visit www.sportsphilanthropy.com.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful, and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.
Courtesy Red Sox communications