Cano's foundation helping to build schools in Dominican Republic

Cano's foundation helping to build schools in Dominican Republic

SEATTLE -- A common refrain among successful individuals is to "remember where you came from." For Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, that motto is more than just words as Thanksgiving approaches.

The seven-time All-Star's holiday spirit plays out far away from the Major League stadiums where he spends his summers.

The primary mission of Cano's RC22 Foundation has been building a school for impoverished kids in his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris, a city of about 200,000 on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic.

The ensuing RC22 DREAM School -- which provides Montessori-style instruction for 102 students ages 3-6 as well as English classes for older students and parents -- has been so successful that a second school is now under consideration as Cano looks to help more youngsters in his homeland.

"Every day it's growing more," Cano said of his foundation. "I come from a poor town and I've been there when you grow up and don't have anything or anybody. For me, to come all the way from the Dominican and be able to make it to the big leagues and play at a high level, I've been blessed. It's important to give back to the community."

Cano's foundation is doing that work in numerous ways. An annual Three Kings Day holiday program has distributed toys to more than 8,000 children in 45 communities in the Dominican Republic in the past two years.

Thousands of young baseball players have received uniforms and cleats to play on teams in San Pedro de Macoris.

The primary mission of Cano's RC22 Foundation has been building a school in his hometown.

But the schools are a deeper effort to provide a hand for children in need and the foundation is currently exploring more areas to build facilities, with the end goal of developing 22 schools around the country for all age groups.

"It's been really good," Cano said. "We're working on building a second one soon. I'm trying to do it in my town where they don't have the buildings for schools. A lot of kids that are 10 to 12 years old are trying to help bring food to their family's table. So if I can expand it, I will do that for sure."

Cano began the foundation in 2013, while with the Yankees, and extended his charitable efforts to Seattle after joining the Mariners in '14. He hosted his inaugural Seattle fundraiser, CANOCHE, to benefit the RC22 Foundation last June.

The event, held at the Paramount Theatre, raised $1.1 million to support the RC22 Dream School in the Dominican Republic and several Seattle-area charities, including Seattle Children's Hospital, Odessa Brown Clinic, City Year Seattle and the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. The foundation also covered uniform costs for the South King Warriors Basketball Academy in Auburn, Wash., earlier this year.

Since its inception, the foundation has raised more than $2.5 million.

"Thank God for all the people that support the Foundation," Cano said. "Our goal is to build schools and help wherever we can. That's something as a player, I want to be able to go back home and spend time with the kids and see how we're changing their lives."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.