Cardinals continue to make an impact in community

Cardinals continue to make an impact in community

ST. LOUIS -- Already aptly recognized for their on-field success in 2015, the Cardinals should be doubly commended for the work accomplished off the field through a plethora of charity initiatives.

Cardinals Care, the organization's philanthropic arm, handed out over $270,000 in grants to over 125 non-profit groups in the St. Louis area that work with local children. One city neighborhood received a new field, as the organization's 22nd youth ballfield was built within the Clinton-Peabody Public Housing Complex, just blocks away from Busch Stadium.

That field bears the name of Tony La Russa, who helped launch the Cardinals Care program early in his managerial tenure with the Cardinals.

Cardinals Care raised some of its money to fund these continued initiatives through its annual Cardinals Care 6K and One Mile Fun Run, which was held on Sept. 13 and featured over 650 participants. Three months earlier, dozens of golfers participated in the annual Ted Savage RBI Golf Classic to benefit the RBI (Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities) Program, part of the Cardinals' yearly $50,000 commitment to RBI and the Mathews-Dickey Boys & Girls Club.

This year's Redbird Rookies program boasted 20 leagues with 4,000 participants, all of whom were invited to a summer health fair and encouraged to get involved with a summer reading program. As of October 2015, 72 students who went through this program had received scholarships for college from Cardinals Care.

Other highlights from the year include the organization's involvement in the "Doin' It Right" program to encourage children to not do drugs, stay in school and participate in sports, as well as the team's upcoming Cardinals Care Holiday Party. On Dec. 17, children affiliated with several are nonprofits and Redbird Rookies will be visiting with Santa and enjoying other surprises as part of this event.

In addition to initiatives spearheaded by the organization, there were several instances in which Cardinals players made their own individual impact. Adam Wainwright led the way with his third annual "Waino's World Fantasy Football League" event, which has spread into several other Major League cities.

By gathering folks to compete in fantasy football leagues against players and celebrities, Wainwright is raising funds to benefit charitable organizations around the world that provide basic essential resources. He raised an estimated $670,000 in the first two years of the event and set a goal of raising enough this year to cure 500 people of blindness in Africa.

Wainwright, along with Peter Bourjos, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, also participated in the player ticket program. Each of these players met with underserved youth from the St. Louis area prior to six home games and then provided the children with shirts, food and drinks during the game.

Rosenthal supplemented this work with a donation to each participating organization based on the number of strikeouts he totaled during each month-long period.

Players did all sorts of other work in the community without any recognition, too. Several make regular visits to local children's hospitals, donate equipment to various youth leagues and dedicate time to assist local organizations. In many cases, their wives also stepped up to make a difference.

Through four stadium grab-bag events, wives of the Cardinals' players raised over $65,000 for nonprofit organization's Great Circle, Lydia's House, Covering House and Angels' Arm's. Those monies were raised by selling grab bags with player autographed baseballs.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.