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Major League Baseball announces new collaboration with Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America
10/28/2007 7:10 PM ET
Major League Baseball today joined the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation (HACDF) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), the official charity of MLB, to announce a new program that will provide children with financial support and mentoring to pursue their dreams. The Major League Baseball Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Program (HACDP) will provide grants to Boys & Girls Club members from across the country and on military bases around the world who have shown a talent in fields such as music, dance, art, science, literature and athletics, and give them the support to develop their skills.

The program provides for a perpetual endowment that will annually distribute 44 grants in honor of Hank Aaron's legendary jersey number (44).

"There are so many things I admire about my friend, Hank Aaron, including his tireless work advocating for youth and youth issues," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Hank and his wife, Billye, have shown tremendous commitment to helping kids realize their dreams and Major League Baseball is proud to be a part of advancing their good works."

Awards of up to $2,500 will be granted to select Club members annually with the exact amount based on the development plan created by the local Boys & Girls Club that nominates the youth. Awards are renewable depending on the recipient's additional needs in further pursuing their dreams, and may be renewed each year until the recipient graduates from high school.

The Major League Baseball Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Program will be funded entirely by contributions from MLB to the endowment fund. Funding will reach the full endowment level of $2.5 million in 2008.

"After I retired, my wife, Billye, and I decided we wanted to give back by helping kids achieve their dreams," said Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. "It is a very proud and happy day for us to see this program launched. The shared vision and resources of these three organizations will help us help even more children Chase their Dreams."

The HACDP will be administered by the BCGA and HACDP endowment committee. The committee will include representatives from the HACDF board, BGCA and Major League Baseball. Program information, including the application and requalifying process, will be available beginning on Monday, October 29, in select Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide.

"These awards will inspire and empower our youth," said Roxanne Spillett, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "And, perhaps, they may nurture a young scientific mind like Albert Einstein's, or the musical ability of a Beethoven, the insightful speech of a Maya Angelou or even the sure hands and mighty swing of a future Hank Aaron."

Hank has been a part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America's leadership both as a national trustee and Governor for nearly a decade.

The Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation was started by Hank Aaron and his wife, Billye in 1994, and in the last 10 years HACDF has given more than 755 grants to deserving youth. HACDF will continue to function as a foundation supplying grants to other grant recipients that are separate from The Major League Baseball Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Program. This includes programs now in existence in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Mobile, and Milwaukee.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( comprises a national network of more than 4,000 neighborhood-based facilities, with 4.8 million youth served through Club membership and community outreach, in all 50 states and on U.S. military bases worldwide. Known as "The Positive Place for Kids," the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize leadership development, education and career exploration, financial literacy, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation, and family outreach. An estimated 30 million American youth have been served by Boys & Girls Clubs since the founding of BGCA in 1906. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.

About Major League Baseball Charities
Major League Baseball Charities is a not-for-profit corporation that provides support to local, national and international tax- exempt organizations to directly conduct or sponsor activities for the promotion of good health, physical education, public safety, medical research, literacy, educational or charitable purposes. In addition to supporting Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), the Official Charity of Major League Baseball, MLB Charities provides support to a number of other national charitable initiatives, including Little League Baseball, the National Urban League and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball pays all administrative expenses for MLB Charities.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.