KANSAS CITY -- For the past two weeks, Bank of America's customers, employees and other fans have stopped by any of the 47 banking centers in the Kansas City area to sign a Wiffle ball with their words of support and thanks for U.S. military members and their families. Those words are being heard and felt in a unique way at Major League Baseball's All-Star FanFest at the Convention Center.
The signed balls are being used used to create a mosaic, changing daily, that is on display at Bank of America's booth at FanFest through Tuesday, and then the mosaic will be donated to USO Fort Riley. It is just one of the ways that Bank of America is asking the community to help honor members of America's military for their service. The bank is partnering with MLB, the USO Fort Riley and Rebuilding Together as part of its long-term commitment to create a lasting impact for veterans.
"Bank of America has been a proud supporter of military families for over 90 years," said Jeff Cathey, senior military affairs executive at Bank of America. "In addition to special commitments to hiring military service members and veterans, and special financial programs designed to help military households, we have a long history of partnering with military nonprofits like the USO. Members of the armed forces make great sacrifices to serve this country, and we believe it's important that we give back to those who give so much for us."
Fans also can sign balls at the Bank of America FanFest booth. Over at Kauffman Stadium -- site of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday, the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday and the 83rd All-Star Game on Tuesday -- there is another way for the public to be involved in the Sponsor Zone. The bank has a booth there featuring a chance to hit a ball over a military vehicle. For each "home run," the bank will donate an additional dollar to USO Fort Riley. The total contribution from the bank, up to a total of $20,000, will support USO Fort Riley programming to help the transition from the battlefield to civilian life.
Bank of America has been a supporter of the military since 1920, providing specialized financial services to active and veteran service members and philanthropic support to military-based organizations. The bank offers specialized mortgage support and programs for military customers and their families, including a dedicated mortgage servicing unit and, through partnerships with non-profit organizations, has donated homes to service members returning from active duty.
Since 2009, Bank of America has provided nearly $5 million in grants for nonprofits that directly serve members of the military, including the USO, Operation Homefront, Wounded Warrior Project and Homes for our Troops. Currently, more than 5,000 military service members and veterans have been hired to work for the bank, helping that transition back into the civilian world.
Bank of America is partnering with MLB and the Royals on a local Rebuilding Together service project benefiting the Kansas City VA Medical Center Honor Annex, a new outpatient facility that will house specialized programs for veterans such as mental health services, including post-traumatic stress disorder, women's healthcare and primary care. Employee volunteers will assist with painting, landscaping and other projects at the center.
Bank of America is the Official Bank of Major League Baseball and a sponsor of the Braves, Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees, Cardinals, Padres and Giants.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.