Kershaw, who won the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award and is nominated to become the award's first-ever two-time recipient, and his wife, Ellen, founded their non-profit, Kershaw's Challenge, in 2011 with one goal: To challenge and encourage people to use whatever passion, purpose or talent that they have been given to make an impact on the lives of others in need. The non-profit foundation works to transform at-risk communities and the lives of children by partnering with organizations both locally and abroad to renew hope, one life at a time. This year, through Kershaw's Challenge, Kershaw has chosen to support local charities in Los Angeles, partnering with The Dream Center and ShareFest, as well as charities in his hometown of Dallas (Mercy Street) and in Zambia, Africa (Cure International and Arise Africa). In addition to financial support, Kershaw has made numerous visits to each organization, where he's assisted with community outreach programs, run baseball clinics/camps and donated/distributed essential daily supplies like food and clothing.
Kershaw is not only committed to being hands-on in the community, but also to raising funds for both the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation as well as for his own charity. He has hosted an annual charity fundraising event in Los Angeles for the past three years, with Clayton's Texas BBQ & Hoedown in 2012 and Ping Pong 4 Purpose in 2013 and 2014, with proceeds benefitting Kershaw's Challenge and, in November of this year, the Kershaws will host the inaugural Kershaw's Challenge Benefit Concert in Dallas to raise funds and awareness for their Zambian and Dallas outreach projects. Kershaw also continues to raise money through his Strike Out to Serve initiative, where he makes a donation of each of his strikeouts and challenges others to do so as well.
In his support of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), Kershaw donated one of his game-used baseballs from his no-hitter for auction and signed hundreds pieces of memorabilia to help local organizations raise funding to support children and families in need through their own auctions. Also in partnership with LADF, Kershaw joined six teammates in supporting the LA Fund for Public Education's School Fuel program, a three-year campaign ensuring 700,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District eat breakfast in the classroom every morning.
The level of giving off the field is matched by his play on the field, where Kershaw has once again been one of the game's best pitchers. This year, he earned a fourth consecutive All-Star selection and currently leads the Majors in wins (19, 19-3), ERA (1.70), complete games (6), opponents' batting average (.190) and WHIP (0.83). He won consecutive National League Pitcher of the Month selections in June and July, during which time he started a career-long 11-game winning streak, and has been honored as NL Player of the Week twice this year. Kershaw established a career-high with 15 strikeouts in a game during his first-career no-hitter on June 18 against the Colorado Rockies, when only one runner reached base (via an error) in the Dodgers' 8-0 win. The 26-year-old opened the 2014 season with his fourth-consecutive Opening Day start for the Dodgers, picking up the win at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia. He is seeking an unprecedented fourth-consecutive MLB ERA title and is once again in the running for his third-career Cy Young Award, while also being discussed as a possible candidate for the National League MVP.
"Clayton is one of the most dedicated and hardest working athletes on and off the field I've been associated with," said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. "If anyone is deserving of the Clemente Award a second time, Clayton is certainly the one."
"When you think about the Roberto Clemente award, you think about the man first and to be associated with him is an amazing thing," said Kershaw. "To be nominated again for such an award and to be mentioned in the same breath as Roberto Clemente is very special and something I don't take for granted. I'm truly humbled and honored to be nominated again."
Beginning tomorrow, fans are encouraged to participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet recipient by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 Club nominees. Voting ends on Sunday, October 6th and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2014 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet will be announced.
The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel of dignitaries, which includes Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig; MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred; MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of Roberto Clemente, Vera Clemente; and representatives from Chevrolet, MLB Network, MLB.com, ESPN, FOX Sports and TBS, among others.
Clubs playing at home on September 17th will recognize their local nominees as part of Roberto Clemente Day ceremonies, while the Dodgers will honor Kershaw during pre-game ceremonies on Tuesday, September 23rd. As part of the league-wide celebration, the Roberto Clemente Day logo will appear on the bases and the official dugout lineup cards.