04/26/11 8:40 PM ET
All-Star Game to have lasting impact in Phoenix
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
Major League Baseball and the D-backs will donate more than $4 million through MLB Charities and the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation to MLB All-Star projects in the Phoenix area.
Giving back to the community has been an integral part of the organization since its inaugural season in 1998.
"That's a big part of who I am and why I'm involved in baseball," D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said. "I think baseball is a platform to give back. We touch so many lives with the game, so the opportunity is enormous and it's important we take advantage of it. If you're in private business, which I have been, you can do things that help, but you can't reach nearly the same amount of people."
The three major recipients of the money will be:
Boys and Girls Club Renovation Project: With the assistance of Magical Builders, there will be a comprehensive renovation of the Club's interior and exterior, including game room, teen center, main entry, multi-use field, restrooms, cafeteria, kitchen, youth media center, gym/assembly room, youth computer lab, building facade and security gate.
The renovations will take place at the Kieckhefer Branch, which is located near Chase Field.
"We went there and immediately noticed that it needs attention, it needs detail," D-backs team president and CEO Derrick Hall said.
Foundation for Blind Children Vision Technology Center: Funding will provide state-of-the-art vision technology and training on use for Smartphone devices, as well as special Braille notetakers, laptops, closed circuit TV, magnifiers and translation software. In addition, service technology will be provided along with upgrades when needed and evaluations and assessments of blind students.
This is a cause that is near and dear to Kendrick, who has helped the Foundation for Blind Children for many years.
"It is a wonderful organization, and to see them benefit from this is special," Kendrick said.
Rebuilding Together: Renovations will be made to the Arizona State Veteran Home in Phoenix, including the entry area and patio, in addition to construction of shade covers for patient vans and a new greenhouse for a therapeutic gardening program.
"We were a part of selecting these charities," Hall said. "We know our market and all of our charities locally, so we took Major League Baseball around and showed them the possibilities, and who needed it the most. We're very proud of this."
Luis Gonzalez, best remembered for his game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, is now a special assistant to Hall, and he said it is the charitable involvement that defines a player and an organization.
"All the accomplishments that you can have on the field, what I think means most to the athletes is when you're done playing and people still remember you for stuff you did off the field," Gonzalez said. "That's when you know you've hit your mark as a professional athlete."