Royals, Baseball Tomorrow Fund to host equipment collection

KANSAS CITY, MO (May 17, 2014) -- In support of the ongoing commitment from Major League Baseball, its Clubs and the players to increase opportunities for youth participation in baseball and softball, the Kansas City Royals, along with pitchers Kelvin Herrera and Yordano Ventura, are teaming up with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) to host an equipment collection drive during the White Sox-Royals series at Kauffman Stadium.

 On Tuesday, May 20, fans are invited to donate new and used baseball and softball equipment, which will benefit the Cristo Rey KC Baseball Program. Cristo Rey volunteers will be stationed outside the Kia Diamond Club, located across from the Majestic Team Store on the Field/Plaza Level, from 6-7:30 p.m. Cash donations will also be accepted. Fans will receive an autographed baseball for a $40 donation or an autographed photo card for a $10 donation (while supplies last).

In conjunction with the equipment drive, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will award a grant in the amount of $5,000 to Cristo Rey Kansas City for the purchase of new equipment. Herrera and Ventura, who are in their first year as BTF Player Ambassadors, will present a ceremonial check to representatives from the Cristo Rey KC Baseball Program during a pre-game ceremony on Monday, May 19.

This year marks the tenth season the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has teamed with Major League Baseball Clubs to supplement their existing equipment collection programs and to help facilitate the creation of new programs. Last year, more than 600 pieces of baseball/softball equipment and $2,680 cash donations from Royals fans were received.

In 2013, 31 organizations from Major League markets were awarded a BTF grant for the purchase of equipment or uniforms for youth baseball/softball leagues. The success of this program has grown throughout the years as 95 percent of MLB teams participate in Equipment Day and continue to support the growth of baseball and softball. To date, over 100,000 pieces of equipment and approximately $1.6 million in total monetary donations have benefited organizations in need.

"As we celebrate the tenth season of the Equipment Day initiative, we are thrilled to see the program continue to grow and expand in its impact," says Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. "The Clubs, players, and fans are an essential part of the program's success in giving more players in our communities access to baseball and softball."

Cristo Rey Kansas City was founded in 2006 and is a member of the Cristo Rey Network, a national network of 26 schools developed to lift urban youth from poverty by providing them with a college preparatory education and nurturing their dreams of a career and a better future. Today, these schools make college preparatory education financially viable in 26 urban communities across the country.