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04/06/2010 2:01 PM ET
Attanasios announce major gift to Brewers Community Foundation
Milwaukee Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio and his wife Debbie today announced plans to add to the organization's philanthropic efforts through a $1 million gift to the Brewers Community Foundation (BCF). The announcement was made this afternoon by the Attanasios at a press conference at Milwaukee's Northside YMCA. The event was attended by Brewers players Prince Fielder, LaTroy Hawkins, Casey McGehee and Jeff Suppan; Bob Uecker; Brian Anderson; Brewers executives Doug Melvin, Bob Quinn and Rick Schlesinger; YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee President and CEO Bob Yamachika; and others.
"This gift to the Brewers Community Foundation is in memory of Debbie's parents, Barbara and Martin Kaplan, who were true examples of how caring for others pays dividends in extraordinary ways," said Mark Attanasio on behalf of the family. "This gift is the beginning. Our goal is to continue establishing BCF as one of the most impactful philanthropic organizations in Wisconsin, and one of the most effective nonprofit organizations in all of professional sports."
The $1 million gift will go largely toward the establishment of a permanent fund for the Foundation. Some funds will be used to support programs in 2010. In addition to its previous efforts that supported access to higher education, recreational programs, good public health and preventive medicine, BCF is adding basic needs to its roster of activities. BCF has begun working with local organizations that provide food, clothing and shelter to local citizens in light of today's turbulent economic situation.
When named Chairman and Principal Owner of the Brewers in 2005, Mark Attanasio made it a top priority to deliver on four pledges he made to the community. One of those was to continue building the Brewers as a leader in the community. Five years later, Attanasio, baseball executives, front office officials and players at the Brewers have renewed that pledge by investing additional resources into BCF, and today's announcement is evidence of the Attanasios' commitment to the community.
"Our family believes that giving time and resources is one of the greatest ways to strengthen an entire community," said Debbie Attanasio. "There are many stakeholders in this effort-virtually everyone in all areas of the club, community and civic partners, as well as our fans. We encourage everyone to join us in our commitment to continue improving the quality of life for everyone in Wisconsin."
In February, the Brewers announced that the former Brewers Charities was being re-established as BCF with Cecelia Gore serving as its Executive Director. Many of the changes to the Club's community involvement were a direct result of a top-to-bottom review of the Brewers' community efforts as part of a "best practices" review as well as an industry summit it hosted for all 30 MLB teams this past January in Milwaukee. Since then, BCF has released details of its new mission, vision and focused areas of interest. The changes include more opportunities for involvement by all stakeholders:
Among the ways fans may contribute are two new programs this year, with the majority of funds raised directly benefiting the causes supported by BCF:
1. The first program is the 50-50 Raffle, which will occur at every Brewers home game. Fans will be able to purchase raffle tickets for $2 each, with a chance to win 50% of the net proceeds. The remainder will go to BCF and its causes.
2. Fans may also drop spare change into Change for Children canisters located at most concession stands at Miller Park.
Our players contribute to community organizations financially, with their time, and through other resources. Examples include:
1. Health: Organizations such as Make A Wish, MPTV Healthy Kids Initiative and UCP are supported with grants made by players and fundraisers.
2. Education: A number of Brewers players have contributed financially to support Brewers "Home Run Scholars," and their support continues to provide scholarships through the Selig Scholars program. The program was established during the All Star Game in 2002.
3. Recreation: Today's announcement was made at the YMCA, which is a primary example of how a partnership with the Foundation and Brewers players can make a difference. This is in addition to support given to numerous youth baseball leagues throughout Wisconsin, such as the Little Brewers, the RBI Program, Beckum Stapleton Little League, Girls of Summer Softball and Felix Mantilla Little League.
4. Basic Needs: Player partnerships include Foley & Lardner to support the Hunger Task Force, Feeding America, St. Ben's Community Meal Program and Sojourner Family Peace Center, among others.
This year, the player commitments already total hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that number is expected to grow.
The Brewers have joined forces with several sponsors and other local companies to contribute resources to a number of causes. Foley & Lardner (Ks For A Cause), US Cellular (Little Brewers) and Northwestern Mutual (Drive for Charity) are a few examples of powerful partnerships that have made a significant contribution to the quality of life in Wisconsin.
The Attanasio family is involved with multiple nonprofit and philanthropic causes throughout the country, most of which focus on benefitting youth in the areas of health and education. Among them are:
• Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Sports Spectacular (which funds the study of medical genetics and birth defects for children)
• Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
• Pediatric AIDS Foundation
• The Painted Turtle Camp (for children with life-threatening diseases)
• Camp Ronald McDonald (for children with cancer)
• Children's Outing Association of Milwaukee
• United Way of Milwaukee
• The Greater Milwaukee Committee
• The Fulfillment Fund (mentoring and scholarship programs for underprivileged students)
• United Friends of the Children (mentoring and support programs for youth in foster homes)
• Los Angeles Food Bank
• Saban Free Clinic (providing comprehensive medical and dental care as well as social services)
• President's Leadership Council of Brown University