Blue Jays and Jays Care honoured for philanthropy

Blue Jays and Jays Care honoured for philanthropy

TORONTO -- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation named Jays Care Foundation as one of three winners of the 2014 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy on Wednesday afternoon.

The Steve Patterson Award was created in 2004 to honor the former UCLA basketball star, NBA player and Arizona State basketball coach. The three winners will be honored at a ceremony in Princeton, N.J., on Sept. 18.

Jays Care, which is the charitable arm of the Blue Jays, becomes the first international organization to receive the prestigious award. The other winners were the Tiger Woods Foundation and Harlem RBI.

"We are honored to celebrate three outstanding organizations -- Jays Care, the Tiger Woods Foundation and Harlem RBI. Each is giving back to their communities and inspiring others to build a Culture of Health," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Jays Care was founded in 1992 and aims to create equal opportunities for kids in need across Canada by removing barriers to sport and education. Some of the organization's initiatives include Blue Jays Baseball Academy Rookie League, Home Run Scholars, and the Jays Care Community Clubhouse.

"The Toronto Blue Jays are honored to be recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an organization that truly understands the power of sport," Stephen Brooks, Senior Vice President of Business Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, said. "As Canada's only MLB team, the Blue Jays, through Jays Care Foundation, have made a lasting commitment to invest in Canadian children and communities from coast to coast."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.