Players Trust board holds annual meeting

The Players Trust, which has distributed over $19.8 million to more than 800 charities in its nearly 20 years of existence, held its annual board meeting at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas on Jan. 13, setting its priorities and budget for 2016.

The 32 players and former players in attendance spent a full afternoon reviewing with staff members the Trust's ever-growing portfolio of programs and events that help thousands of people in communities in the United States and around the world.

"It's always a great meeting when you have former players and current players coming together to brainstorm how to make our charity even better than it already is," said LaTroy Hawkins, who was honored at the welcome dinner later that evening for his longtime service to the Trust. "The meeting went extraordinarily well.

"At the end of the day it's about our motto: 'Care. Act. Inspire.' We talk about how we're going to accomplish those goals, like what programs are we going to give money to? How are we going to affect the lives of the most people we can in the communities where we work and live?"

During 2015, the Trust:

• Awarded five $10,000 Michael Weiner Scholarships for Labor Studies;

• Inspired and trained thousands of high school students, the next generation of volunteers, through the Action Team program;

• Hosted free, hands-on baseball instructional clinics for physically and intellectually challenged and inner-city kids, as well as for the children of the men and women serving in our military forces;

• Treated more than 700 disadvantaged kids to a trip to a ballpark through the Buses for Baseball program;

• Funded birthday parties for children (and their families) living in transitional housing, and

• Raised funds with events that included two charity golf tournaments and the Players Choice Awards, in which the players choose the best among their peers.

Additionally, the Trust worked with charitable partners in the U.S. and abroad to extend its outreach.

Volunteers of America collaborates on the Action Team youth volunteer and Brightening Birthdays programs.

The Trust provides grants for Medicines for Humanity to provide clean water and life-saving medications as well as train local healthcare workers in their efforts to reduce infant and child mortality in impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic.

In its partnership with Esperanza International, the Trust provides grants, including $100,000 in 2015, to fund low-interest microloans for small and start-up businesses in impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic.

The grants to Medicines for Humanity and Esperanza exemplify the Trust's commitment to improve medical and living conditions in the Dominican Republic -- a place many Major Leaguers call home.

To view the Players Trust 2015 Year in Review video please click here.

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Landry Fields, an NBA player with the Toronto Raptors, prevailed over the baseball players and one NFL player, Craig Dahl of the New York Giants, to win the charity poker tournament hosted by the MGM Grand on behalf of the Trust. Dana Eveland of the Tampa Bay Rays came in second place.