Recipients of the award were announced at a press conference at Tropicana Field, and Rays players who contributed to the Foundation -- a group that includes Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena and Scott Kazmir -- were in attendance.
The Rays Baseball Foundation is "committed to supporting youth and education programs throughout the Tampa Bay community," according to the press release. In 2008, the Foundation invested more than $600,000 in youth and education programs in the Tampa Bay region through grant programs and special events.
Grant programs for the Foundation include the Community Fund Grant, the All-Star Grant and the Field Renovation Grant.
The first players to contribute to the Foundation were Crawford and current Red Sox outfielder Rocco Baldelli. Since then, the group has expanded to include Akinori Iwamura, Kazmir, Longoria, Pena, Troy Percival, James Shields and Dan Wheeler.
Collectively, those players will contribute more than $1 million throughout the length of their contracts.
The 29 non-profit organizations that received contributions were:
- Alpha House of Pinellas County Inc. Parenting
- America's Second Harvest of Tampa Bay
- Best Buddies Tampa/Best Buddies International Inc.
- BLOOMING Place for Kids
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Charlotte County
- Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County
- Boys Initiative/Ophelia Project - Tampa Bay Workshops
- CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse)
- ChairScholars Foundation
- Clothes To Kids Inc.
- Community Learning Center of Pinellas County
- Creative Clay Cultural Arts Center
- Devereux Kids Program
- Eckerd Youth Alternatives
- Front Porch Community Development Association
- Girls Incorporated of Pinellas
- Happy Workers Children's Center
- Heart Gallery - Pinellas & Pasco
- Hillsborough Education Foundation Schools
- Manatee Education Foundation
- Mt. Zion Human Services Inc.
- Pinellas Education Foundation Education Scholarship Program
- Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg Inc.
- Salvation Army - Sallie House Camp Program
- The Children's Home Please
- The Pier Aquarium Science Program
- YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.