On Saturday, June 14, the Atlanta Braves Foundation hosted the winners of our annual Jerseys Off Our Backs Online Auction. This once in a lifetime experience gives fans an opportunity to win their favorite player’s jersey, RIGHT OFF THEIR BACK! The winners of each game-worn autographed jersey also received two tickets to the game on June 14th and the chance to take part in a post-game ceremony to receive their jersey. The auction was live online at http://www.braves.com/charityauctions from May 12th through June 4th and boy did the bidding war get pretty intense. Some jerseys sold for several thousand dollars!
After a long, hard fought 12-inning game by the home team, auction winners finally experienced the moment they had been waiting for all night. As each player came off the field, they signed their jerseys and the winners were brought onto the field for the post-game ceremony. Winners were presented with their game-worn autographed jerseys by Braves 3rd baseman Chris Johnson and also got to pose for a photo!
The auction was extremly special to the winner of the Johnson jersey who anxiously waited to meet him after the lengthy night. At the moment of the presentation, the winner approached Johnson with a smile on his face, shook his hand, received his jersey and expressed his excitement to the player. The evening was a memorable one for all winners!
The auction benefited the Atlanta Braves Foundation, the non-profit charitable arm of the Atlanta Braves. Through the Jerseys Off Our Backs Online Auction, the Braves Foundation annually distributes grants to nonprofit organizations that focuses on youth baseball, health, and children initiatives. We are appreciative and thankful for all of the participants that continue to support the Braves commitment to impact Braves Country.
Be sure to look out for next year’s Jerseys Off Our Backs Auction and don’t miss your opportunity to go on the field and meet your favorite Braves player!
We teamed up with RaceTrac and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund on Memorial Day for our annual equipment drive to support the growth of youth baseball and softball across the metro Atlanta.
Fans brought gently used baseball and softball equipment to the game and received raffle tickets for the opportunity to win autographed Braves memorabilia.
If you missed this drive, there is still time to donate to the following equipment drives taking place on June 14, July 19, and August 9 in Monument Grove. Visit braves.com/equipmentdrive for a list of items to donate.
Each Mother’s Day, Major League Baseball honors fans who have courageously battled breast cancer by hosting its annual “Honorary Bat Girl” contest. Fans around the league are invited to submit stories of individuals that have demonstrated resilience throughout their journey.
This year Mother’s Day we celebrated Lori Smith, a courageous Braves fan who “Goes to Bat Against Breast Cancer” in her daily life. As part of our continued support in bringing awareness to this disease, we were honored to present Lori as the 2014 Atlanta Braves Honorary Bat Girl.
Initially nominated by her twin sister, Lori was ultimately selected for her incredible journey and her strength to overcome breast cancer by a selection committee including our very own Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman, Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants, country music superstar and Atlanta Braves fan Jason Aldean, and Sam Ryan, MLB Network host and reporter.
Lori was only 35-years-old when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and went through 20 rounds of chemotherapy. During this time, she worked two jobs, went through chemo during her lunch hour, and would then return to work never missing a beat. After her second week of chemo, Lori decided to shave her head and proudly sported her new look everywhere. This was her way of embracing her story and showcasing her bravery and fearlessness. Cancer never slowed Lori down, as it was simply a speed bump in the road on her incredible journey. She has been cancer-free now for two and a half years and continues to go in for regular checkups. Lori is a beacon of hope for those struggling through breast cancer recovery, with her positive attitude and demeanor.
Pam Gonzalez, wife of Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez along with Theresa Tosca, wife of Braves Coach Carlos Tosca met with Lori in the Braves Dugout before the game to present her with her very own MLB authentic pink bat engraved with her name, a pink laced baseball, and other goodies in celebration of her incredible journey. Lori was truly surprised when Freddie Freeman came out to meet her and give her one of his famous Freeman hugs. Braves pitchers Alex Wood and Kris Medlen also took the time to congratulate her.
If you or a loved one is a breast cancer survivor, join us for the Atlanta Braves Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Sunday, September 21 at Turner Field. Visit braves.com/bcawareness to register. Survivors will receive a complementary ticket, a pre-game walk on the field, and a commemorative pink Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt. We are so proud of Lori and all of the breast cancer survivors in Braves Country!
On May 2- 4 the 2nd annual Atlanta Braves Heritage Weekend celebrated Atlanta’s strong and rich history in the Civil Rights Movement and honored baseball’s role in affecting social change.
On Friday, May 2, the Annual Delta Champions for Justice Luncheon was held to recognize outstanding individuals who have made a lifelong commitment to overcoming industry obstacles and inspiring future generations. The 2014 Hank Aaron Champion for Justice Award recipients included retired NBA All Star Joe Barry Carroll, Olympic track and field gold medalists Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Edwin Moses, and civil rights legend and recipient of the Medal of Freedom, Reverend C.T. Vivian. This event benefited the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. More than 400 people came out to Turner Field to hear our honorees discuss the role of athletes in challenging discrimination and societal barriers. To culminate the luncheon, our very own Hank Aaron presented each of the honorees with the 2014 Hank Aaron Champion for Justice Award.
Later that evening, the honorees came back to the Ted for a special reception and pre-game ceremony. The award recipients were driven around the warning track in convertibles before the game allowing fans to show their support and admiration for these individuals and for the work they have done to affect social change.
On Saturday morning, we welcomed 200 youth ages 8-12 to the ballpark for the Heritage Weekend Youth Baseball Clinic led by Braves alumni, Johnny Estrada, Kevin Millwood, Jeff Treadway, Alejandro Pena and Titans Sports Academy. The children rotated to various stations including pitching in the bullpen, pop flies and ground balls in the outfield and hitting in the Braves batting cages. All participants were invited to return to Turner Field that evening to enjoy the Braves game.
Later that evening we hosted a Negro League Celebration honoring 18 Negro League players during special reception and pre-game ceremony in an effort to recognize all they’ve done for the game of baseball. These players represented the different Negro League teams from around the country including the Atlanta Black Crackers, Kansas City Monarchs, Birmingham Black Barons, Louisville Clippers, Raleigh Tigers, Indianapolis Clowns and the New York Black Yankees. We were excited to have Mr. Red Moore in attendance. He is the only living member of the Atlanta Black Crackers and at the age of 97, Mr. Moore gets around great and still looks good! The Braves and Giants players wore Atlanta Black Crackers and San Francisco Sea Lions uniforms to honor the Negro Leagues for the Heritage Game. Be sure to look for the Braves jerseys later this month online at braves.com/auctions. To round out the weekend, we capped off the night with an old school Kool and the Gang concert!
Overall, Heritage Weekend was a huge success in celebrating Atlanta’s roots and historical importance in the integration of Major League Baseball. For more information on the Atlanta Braves Heritage Weekend please visit Braves.com/heritage and read the Heritage Weekend article featured on MLB.com at http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140502&content_id=74073896&vkey=perspectives&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb.
Go check out the Braves online auction happening now at Braves Foundation Online Auction and bid on autographed memorabilia, unique experiences and more!
Each month there are new items added to our online auction page, where fans are able to bid on authentic items signed by their favorite players and alumni. Featured auction items include signed baseballs, bats, gloves, photos, and much more. A unique auction item featured in this month’s auction is our on-field experience, this once in a lifetime encounter takes fans up close and personal during Braves batting practice prior to a home game.
All proceeds from the monthly online auctions benefit the Atlanta Braves Foundation, the non-profit charitable arm of your favorite team, the Atlanta Braves. With fans support, we are able to give back to local organizations through the grants program and maintain an active role in our community. Last season, the Braves Foundation awarded more than $300,000 to local non-profit organizations with support from the online and game day auctions. This is a great opportunity to obtain authentic Braves items all while supporting our mission of giving back to our community.
Remember to check out the monthly auction Braves Foundation Online Auction and bid on your favorite items before it’s too late! Bidding ends April 6th at 8:00 p.m.
Each month Braves employees participate in Braves Care, our employee volunteer initiative designed to give staff the chance to give back to the community in various ways. Through this initiative, we are able to create a closer connection to our community through volunteer projects with local non-profit organizations.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Braves front office staff made a special visit to the students at the La Amistad After School Program to create arts and crafts masterpieces and spend quality time with the children before their tutoring session.
La Amistad is a nonprofit organization that works toward helping Latino students and families throughout Georgia thrive in their educational, personal, and career pursuits while working together to transform communities. La Amistad offers after school tutoring and mentoring to students that speak English as a second language, helping them achieve physical and personal growth.
During our visit, we painted four leaf clovers with puffy paint and assembled and decorated homemade shamrock kites. After the fun arts and crafts projects, we tested their baseball knowledge with a little Braves trivia. To close out the afternoon we presented each child with a personal copy of the children’s book “The Road to the Braves,” stickers and tomahawks.
The students were delighted to have us as their special guests during their after school program. We definitely made some new friends at La Amistad! This was truly a fun and unique experience for all of the staff members and children involved, and we look forward to seeing them again soon when they visit us at Turner Field this season.
If you are interested in learning more about LaAmistad, please visit http://www.laamistadfriendship.org/
Braves fans, do you know a courageous person who has battled or is battling breast cancer?
Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Braves are looking for our 2014 Honorary Bat Girl. This Mother’s Day we are celebrating the stories of Braves fans who are “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” in their daily lives. As part of our continued support in bringing awareness to this disease we want to honor our fans and celebrate their journey.
Now through March 24, submit a story about how you or someone you know is “Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer” and why they deserve to be an Honorary Atlanta Braves Bat Girl.
One (1) Honorary Bat Girl will be selected and will be recognized during an on-field presentations on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11 at Turner Field before the Braves vs. Chicago Cubs game. The winner will also receive four (4) game tickets, a Louisville Slugger Pink engraved bat and a commemorative jersey.
Visit http://www.honorarybatgirl.com to submit your stories and learn more about this exciting opportunity!
The Braves Foundation teamed up with our 2013 Grant recipient, The Cross Keys Foundation, to celebrate the unveiling of the Briarwood Park “Little Free Library” on January 16.
We were joined by various media outlets as well as representatives from area schools, the Brookhaven Police department, City of Brookhaven elected officials and lots of neighborhood kids and families.
The “Little Free Library” establishes a highly visible monument to the importance of literacy and early reading and neighborhood parks. The Briarwood Park “Little Free Library” is the first of many libraries to come and will stand as testimony of the community’s commitment to education. Most importantly, the children will be reminded of this fact every time they visit the playground.
The children will have the opportunity to take a book and bring it back, or simply keep them. Cross Keys Foundation partners including the Briarwood Park Conservancy and Brookhaven Storage have committed to host book drives in an effort to keep the libraries stocked with books. Community volunteers will see to it that the “Little Free Library” is stocked on a continual basis. Everyone in attendance was encouraged to add a book to the library.
The goal of the project is to promote excitement about reading among elementary age children and much to our delight, the children couldn’t get to the books fast enough as they immediately begin to takes the book and start reading!
Every holiday season, the Atlanta Braves host special holiday activities to enhance the lives of others. In the Spirit of Giving, we adopted senior citizens for our Angel Tree program and we also hosted our annual “Braves Bowl,” a holiday bowling party for military families.
We know that the holidays can be difficult for those who do not have anyone to share them with. We wanted to do something different and decided to help our senior citizens who are sometimes forgotten around the holidays.
We partnered with Second Wind Dreams, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the perception of aging. Second Wind Dreams offers education on dementia, grants wishes for seniors, and educates the general population on issues related to the elderly. Braves employees adopted 50 senior citizens residing at Decatur Senior Living and College Park Healthcare. These seniors, ranging in ages from age 60 to 95 were gifted with items from their wish lists including sweatsuits, alarm clocks, robes, socks, hats, gloves and candy. As you can see, these seniors didn’t ask for much, so it was the least we could do put smiles on their faces just in time for Christmas!
We continued to spread holiday cheer for 40 military families at our annual Braves “Braves Bowl” Holiday Party at Midtown Bowl. This is the third year that we have held this event to honor and thank the soldiers and their families for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country.
Parents and children from the United Military Care Inc., Wounded Warrior Project, and the Georgia National Guard were greeted by Homer the Mascot, and received a warm welcome from Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez. Braves Alumni Marty Perez and Johnny Estrada along with and Gwinnett Braves Manager Brian Snitker also came out to bowl with the families, sign autographs and take pictures. To round out the day, three lucky soldiers got the opportunity to bowl against Estrada, Perez and Gonzalez for bragging rights and Braves prize packs.
Many thanks to the Braves front office staff, our alumni players, coaches, the Braves 400 Club volunteers, Midtown Bowl and Second Wind Dreams for making this holiday seasons’ activities a huge success!