The items benefit Kids Gear for Baseball, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization that distributes the gear to children in need. Recipients include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lower Merrimack Valley, Worcester and Lawrence, the Special Olympics, and Cross Roads for Kids. The organization has donated to more than 30 youth organizations, shelters, and missions in recent years.
As part of the drive, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will award a grant of $5,000 to Kids Gear for Baseball to purchase new equipment. The grant will be given on behalf of the Red Sox' Jarrod Saltalamacchia to honor his commitment to youth baseball and softball. The switch-hitting, power-hitting, community-minded catcher will present a ceremonial check to Kids Gear for Baseball officials in a pre-game ceremony before the night game on Tuesday, June 18.
The Red Sox have participated in the equipment collection since the program's inception in 2004 when the Baseball Tomorrow Fund first teamed with Major League Baseball clubs. Last year, the drive generated over 12,000 items and nearly $300,000 in monetary donations. Over the nine years, over 100,000 pieces of equipment and approximately $1,550,000 in donations have benefited organizations in need.
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) is a joint initiative between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball to promote the growth of youth baseball and softball throughout the world by awarding grants to support field renovation and construction projects, equipment and uniform purchases, coaches training materials, and other program expenses.
Since its formation by MLB and the MLBPA in 1999, BTF has awarded more than 700 grants totaling more than $23 million to non-profit and tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Approximately 325,000 youth have benefited from programs and facilities supported by the fund. BTF also facilitates league-wide initiatives including the collection and distribution of new and gently used equipment to organizations in need as well as field maintenance education clinics. For more information, visit baseballtomorrowfund.com and follow BTF on Facebook, Twitter and MLBlogs.