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12/13/2011 11:17 PM EST

Baseball Tomorrow Fund fourth quarter grant awards bring yearly total of giving to more than $1.7 million

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) awarded $1.7 million in grants in 2011 to more than 55 communities across the country and in Canada.  This was capped off by fourth quarter grant awards of $230,000 to five communities, including: Kansas City, Kansas (Bishop Ward High School); Providence, Rhode Island (Community Preparatory School); Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania (Tobyhanna Little League); Toronto, Ontario, Canada (East York Baseball Association); and Vineland, New Jersey (City of Vineland).

This year’s grant awards served 45,000 youth players and supported their baseball and softball programs. Also, 2011 marked the seventh consecutive year Baseball Tomorrow Fund hosted an annual “Equipment Day” at Big League ballparks, where MLB Clubs collected more than 15,000 pieces of equipment and more than $157,000 in cash donations to support each Club’s local youth baseball and softball initiatives and programs. Since 2005, the BTF/MLB Equipment Day initiative has collected nearly 100,000 pieces of equipment and has raised approximately $1.25 million in cash donations to benefit organizations in need.

Additionally, BTF started the “BTF Grants for Grant Writing Service,” a new grant opportunity awarded to organizations in need of professional grant writing services. These grants (up to $5,000) are intended to provide support to organizations that lack staff and experience in grant writing, and facilitate an organization’s pursuit of grants to fund youth baseball and softball programs and facilities.

“The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is very pleased to have had the opportunity to help so many communities maintain their youth baseball and softball programs and facilities,” said Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of BTF.  “The fact that we’ve been able to help provide funding so thousands of young people can play the game they love is very rewarding, and it inspires us to make sure we sustain our efforts for years to come.  Thank you to Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association for their continuous and tremendous support.”

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, a program formed by Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), promotes the growth of youth baseball and softball throughout the world by awarding grants to support field renovation and construction projects, equipment and uniform purchases, coaches training material and other selected program expenses.

Since its formation by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1999, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has awarded more than 550 grants totaling more than $20 million to non-profit and tax-exempt organizations in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia. Approximately 250,000 youth players have benefited from programs and facilities supported by BTF. The Baseball Tomorrow Fund receives approximately 400 applications each year and awards grants on a quarterly basis after a selective review process. For more information, visit www.baseballtomorrowfund.com.

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