Commissioner Manfred said: "I congratulate Larry Baer, the Giants Community Fund and the entire Giants organization for the continued success of the Junior Giants program, which is a perfect example of our commitment to reaching young people both inside and outside the game. For many years, the program has used the popularity of our sport to help change thousands of young lives. The program teaches healthy habits, improves literacy and prevents bullying. I thank the Giants and all of our Clubs for their year-round efforts to reach out to their respective communities."
"As individuals, we know it's important to help our neighbors, our community. As an organization, that role is not only multiplied by the employees and players, but also increased exponentially by the image and reach of the team through fans, sponsors and the league," said Giants President and CEO Larry Baer. "It's a responsibility that we take to heart. The San Francisco Giants and the Giants Community Fund are tremendously proud to be a recipient of The Commissioner's Award and look forward to expanding our service as representatives of Major League Baseball."
Junior Giants, which is administered through the Giants Community Fund, is the largest youth baseball program managed by an MLB Club with more than 25,000 participants in 91 leagues throughout California, Nevada and Oregon. The primary goal of the Junior Giants is to use baseball and softball as vehicles to foster character development, academic achievement and improved health among underserved youth, with an additional focus on bullying prevention. The program is implemented thanks to partnerships with local recreation departments, Police Activities Leagues, Boys & Girls Clubs and other community organizations. More than 5,000 coaches and team parents devote time throughout the summer to teaching players both baseball and life skills. The Giants Community Fund handles the majority of administration duties for Junior Giants leagues, including providing all supplies necessary to run a league (equipment, uniforms, program curriculum and incentives, coaches training online registration, background check infrastructure and special liaisons to each league, called Junior Giants Ambassadors). The tenets of Junior Giants are also the main focus of the future Junior Giants Urban Youth Academy, which is planned to be built on the campus of San Francisco State University.
Junior Giants is sponsored by Bank of America and is supported by organizations such as Positive Coaching Alliance and Futures Without Violence, which offer expertise on a number of different topics. Giants players and alumni are integral to the program, especially through financial donations, appearances at events and participating in promotional components. Giants All-Star catcher Buster Posey is the Junior Giants Commissioner. The Giants Community Fund provides Giants game tickets for participants, many of whom have never had the opportunity to attend a game. The Junior Giants has had a positive impact on the youth of the many underserved communities the program reaches, including on the physical health and social-emotional learning. According to a California Polytechnic State University survey administered to Junior Giants parents, coaches and participants, 76% of Junior Giants participants engaged in more physical activity, with the majority practicing healthier habits; at least 83% engaged in behaviors aimed at preventing bullying; and at least 80% saw improvements in character development traits such as integrity, confidence, leadership and teamwork.