That was the message delivered by several of the speakers during Thursday's All-Star Game news conference at Kauffman Stadium.
"The overall goal of any All-Star event, and most especially this one in Kansas City, is to leave a lasting legacy for the city that hosts the All-Star event," said Tim Brosnan, executive vice president of business for Major League Baseball.
As part of the community and charitable initiatives leading up to the 83rd All-Star Game, Major League Baseball and the Royals will donate more than $3.5 million to MLB All-Star projects in the greater Kansas City area and national charitable initiatives.
Major League Baseball will host a series of initiatives and projects leading up to the Midsummer Classic in Kansas City on July 9, aiming to leave a legacy benefiting the area and beyond by impacting the lives of underserved youth and veterans, supporting cancer research and environmental consciousness and honoring the history of Negro Leagues Baseball.
The donation from MLB Charities and Royals Charities, with funds raised from the Gatorade All-Star Workout on July 9, will go toward a number of different organizations and initiatives.
Brosnan said that the number of charitable All-Star events and initiatives was too long to list during the press conference, but he made a special point to emphasize the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, where funds will help create a new traveling exhibit that will be available in future All-Star Game host cities. A portion of the exhibit will also be integrated into the permanent Major League Baseball section of the museum.
On hand was the president of the museum, Bob Kendrick, who said that no one was more excited to have the All-Star Game in Kansas City than those at the museum.
"I think it's going to have a tremendous impact," Kendrick said. "We know that this has the potential to create a world stage for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum unlike anything that has ever happened in the history of this organization. ... I tell people all the time that the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is Kansas City's gift to the rest of the world, and now we have an opportunity to demonstrate that."
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, will give a $50,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, which runs a local RBI league serving nearly 800 players. The grant will be used to provide field renovations at Cleveland Park.
In addition, the third All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run presented by Nike will be held July 8 in downtown Kansas City. Participants will run on an All-Star-themed course, with appearances by baseball legends, mascots and celebrity guests. Hall of Famer and All-Star Ambassador George Brett will serve as the official race starter. The proceeds will go toward Stand Up To Cancer, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Former Royals All-Star Mike Sweeney will participate in the event, and he has created the Sween Team, which participants can register to be a part of.
"I'm not doing this for me, I'm doing it for all my family and friends that have been impacted by cancer as a small way to say thank you and I'm hoping and praying for a cure," Sweeney said in January.
The 2012 All-Star Summer will also build on MLB's continued commitment to the environment by incorporating several environmentally sensitive efforts, stressing the importance of going green, recycling and efficient energy usage throughout the week.
The All-Star Summer activities will support organizations and initiatives including Stand Up To Cancer, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, RBI, the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
A significant portion of the $3.5 million donation will remain in the Kansas City area to fund several different projects and causes. Among those receiving support:
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, which will receive a renovation that improves the building's interior and exterior with assistance from Magical Builders.
Mulkey Square Park and Satchel Paige Stadium, two baseball fields that will be renovated and improved by the MLB All-Star Legacy funding. The fields are owned by the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and will be used regularly by RBI leagues and Guadalupe Center Youth Baseball. During All-Star Week, Satchel Paige Stadium will host the opening ceremonies of the Jr. RBI Classic.
The MLB-Royals All-Star Scholars Program, which will identify five high school seniors per year who will have the opportunity to receive a $2,500 per-year scholarship, renewable up to four years. The students will be selected from the 20/20 Leadership program serving moderate- to low-income families, educating and exposing them to community issues while developing leadership skills and building community relationships. The recipients of the scholarship will be able to choose a major of their choice at any two- or four-year college or university in Missouri or Kansas. The inaugural scholarship winners will be recognized during All-Star Week and serve as volunteers at various events.
Rebuilding Together, at the Kansas City VA Medical Center Annex. This project will be geared toward benefiting female veterans and those afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Bank of America will support this project by committing its employees as volunteers and donating more than $66,000.
Operation Breakthrough, a daycare serving low-income families. The funding will improve its after-school and summer enrichment programs while renovating its facilities.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, where funds will help create a new traveling exhibit that will be available in future All-Star Game host cities. A portion of the exhibit will also be integrated into the permanent Major League Baseball section of the museum.