On Wednesday, April 6th, we hosted our final Leadoff Luncheon at Turner Field in the 755 Club. This exclusive event acts as one of the many fundraisers for the Atlanta Braves Foundation and allows fans and sponsors a chance to have lunch with a Braves player or coach from the Opening Day roster.
Braves Vice Chairman John Schuerholz welcomed everyone to the event, and Braves broadcasters Chip Caray, Joe Simpson, Jim Powell, and Don Sutton all facilitated round table discussions between the Braves newbies and veterans. New to the Braves, Tyler Flowers, Gordon Beckham, and Ender Inciarte sat on the Braves “Newbies” round table while Braves veteran players such as Freddie Freeman, Jason Grilli, Kelly Johnson and Jeff Franceour talked about their role in the clubhouse with the younger prospects on the Braves Veterans round table. This portion of the program gave all participants an inside look on what to expect out of their team this season. Participants also got to hear from Braves President of Baseball Operations John Hart and Manager Fredi Gonzalez.
The luncheon included a silent auction for participants to place bids on unique Atlanta Braves autographed memorabilia.
Overall, this was a very successful fundraiser for the Braves Foundation and a great way to kick off the 2016 Braves baseball season!
The Atlanta Braves Foundation operates as the nonprofit charitable arm of the Atlanta Braves and is committed to giving back to the community. Since 1994, the Braves Foundation has supported various Atlanta-based nonprofit organizations and has contributed more than $6 million in monetary and in-kind donations to the Braves Country community.
We are able to raise these funds through various fundraisers throughout the season such as the 50/50 Raffle, our annual Foundation Weekend memorabilia sale, in-game and special event silent auctions, online auctions, the Atlanta Braves Foundation Golf Tournament, and the Annual Leadoff Luncheon. Braves fans, players and sponsors play a huge role in helping us make a difference in our community by supporting all of these initiatives.
At the beginning of each Braves season, we invite non-profit organizations to apply for our annual grants program to receive funding to assist in their outreach efforts. The applicants must be youth-serving organizations that support education, recreation, and health initiatives. The process is very competitive, as there are so many great organizations in the area that are in desperate need of funding.
During the last week of the season and throughout the year, the Braves Foundation awarded more than $400,000 in grants to 48 deserving organizations. This funding will support initiatives including after-school programs, health and wellness initiatives, anti-bullying campaigns, athletic programs just to name a few. Listed below are our 2015 Atlanta Braves Foundation Grant Recipients.
- Alive Ministries – Will use funds to purchase food and toiletries for local children and families in need.
- Anti-Defamation League – Will support the “No Place for Hate” anti-bullying initiative in schools.
- Arthritis Foundation- Sustain and expand the Juvenile Arthritis programs and services.
- Atlanta Ronald McDonald House – Provide a comfortable “home away from home” for families traveling to Atlanta to receive medical attention for their children.
- Attachment & Trauma Network – Support an interactive Therapeutic Parenting Skills Building Weekend for parents of traumatized and attachment disordered children.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta – Will support initiatives for bigs and littles including college mentoring and healthy living workshops.
- Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta – Will integrate healthy living values into an edible landscape community garden at Anderson Boys and Girls Club.
- Brian Jordan Back to the Future Foundation – Hosts a free baseball clinic for more than 200 disadvantaged children.
- Bright Futures Atlanta – Integrate technology into the After School and Summer programs.
- Camp Kudzu – Will support the diabetes management overnight summer education program.
- Camp Sunshine – Will enrich the lives of Georgia’s children with cancer and their families through year-round support programs.
- Center for Pan Asian Community Services – Help disadvantaged Hispanic youth receive a high school diploma or GED and obtain meaningful work.
- Center for the Visually Impaired – Support programming specific to health and fitness education in the STARS After School Enrichment Program and STARS Summer Enrichment Camp for visually impaired students.
- Center for Working Families – Support the development of family enrichment and healthy relationship workshops.
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Will purchase 600 bike helmets to distribute during bike safety week.
- Christian Aid Mission Partnership – Will provide new shoes and backpacks filled with school supplies for disadvantaged youth.
- Cobb Alcohol Task Force – Facilitate a program in Marietta city schools focusing on social issues.
- Cobb Community Foundation – Provides diapers to families in need.
- Cobb County Public School Educational Foundation – Focuses on college readiness by providing tutoring for SAT and ACT exams.
- Cobb Health Future Foundation – Educates youth on media, physical activity and nutrition.
- Cool Girls, Inc. – Funds the Cool Fitness Program which supports the after school program, summer fitness initiative and Saturday field trips.
- CURE Childhood Cancer – Provides family meals at Aflac Cancer Center.
- East Lake Foundation – Fund educational materials for RISE after school program at Drew Charter School.
- Georgia Avenue Community Ministry – Will feed low-income families.
- Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation – Will fund programming which provides memorable vacations for families dealing with cancer.
- Just Us Girls – Increases educational support for girls including SAT and ACT prep and etiquette classes.
- E.A.D. – Supports the organization’s year-round baseball and life skills development program.
- La Amistad, Inc. – Provides flash cards and books for students to utilize during the school year and summer.
- Latin American Association – Will support the health and wellness component of the Latino Youth Leadership Academy.
- Lekotek of Georgia – Will provide children with limited mobility, access into the world of play using only eye movement.
- Lutheran Services of Georgia – Will support the week-long day camp experiences for refugee children impacted by trauma.
- Marietta Police Athletic League – Will fund the PAL EXCEL program designed to tackle the problems of childhood obesity and access to sports and recreation for low income families.
- Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School Athletic Boosters – will provide an indoor retractable batting cage system, a baseball L-screen, and batting tees for baseball and softball athletes.
- MUST Ministries – Will provide toys and essential winter items and school supplies during the holiday season for youth and families in Cobb and Cherokee counties.
- Piedmont Healthcare – Will support a low income family nutrition education program.
- Rally Foundation – the Family Emergency Fund will offers financial relief to families that have a child actively undergoing cancer treatment.
- Reach Out and Read – Children’s books will be provided in pediatric waiting rooms to encourage literacy.
- Reconnecting Families – will supply furniture, clothing, camps for children, and other basic household needs for disadvantaged families.
- Ser Familia – will fund the Strengthening Families program which focuses on parenting skills, children`s life skills and family skills.
- Special Olympics Georgia – Will help offset costs for youth to attend the Special Olympic Georgia State games.
- The Center for Children and Young Adults – Will provide dining tables and chairs for a youth shelter.
- The US Fund for UNICEF – will support the UNICEF Kid Power by engaging kids in the U.S. to help kids around the world by getting active and ultimately providing food for malnourished children.
- Tomorrow’s Champions – will provide opportunities for girls and to learn the fundamentals of softball and life skills.
- True Colors Theatre Company- will provide free in-school theatre arts workshops for high school students.
- Villages at Carver YMCA – Will use funds to support the youth baseball initiatives at the Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Academy.
- YWCA of NW Georgia – funds will support summer programming for the children in YWCA’s domestic violence shelter and transitional housing.
- Youth Empowering Through Leading, Learning, and Serving – the grant will cover the YELLS Community Action Cafe, Afterschool Program, and Summer Programs for youth.
- YWCA of Greater Atlanta – the funds will provide new materials for the Early Learning Academy.
As you can see, these organizations offer wonderful programs that will benefit a lot deserving young Braves fans. We are proud to be a part of making an impact in the lives of so many people. Congratulations to all of our 2015 Braves Foundation Grantees!
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!
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.
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!
On Saturday, September 28th, twelve of the Atlanta Braves top prospects volunteered their time to put on a free baseball clinic for kids ages 8-12. The Atlanta Braves organizational pitchers and players of the year are tasked with a community service project every year, this year they chose to put on a baseball skills clinic at the Atlanta Braves Baseball Academy located at the Carver YMCA.
The following Future Stars participated in the clinic: Tommy La Stella, Mississippi Braves; Robby Hefflinger, Lynchburg Hillcats; Shae Simmons and Jose Peraza, Rome Braves; Andrew Waszak and Victor Caratini, Danville Braves; Oriel Caicedo and Victor Reyes, Gulf Coast League Braves; Felix Falcon and Kelvin Esteves, Dominican Summer League; overall organizational player of the year Josh Elander, Rome Braves and Lynchburg Hillcats and overall organizational pitcher of the year, Luke Sims; Rome Braves.
The youth baseball players cycled through various stations focusing on hitting, base running, pop flies, and fielding. Following their rotation through all of the stations, all of the athletes lined up to receive Atlanta Braves goody bags, complete with a hat and foam tomahawk, before filing through the autograph line, and picking up their tickets to one of the two final home games of the regular season.
On Saturday, September 14th, the Atlanta Braves partnered with Kroger, WellStar, and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for the seventh Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The day-long celebration of survivorship honored those who have courageously battled breast cancer, and raised awareness and funds to support research, education and advocacy for cancer patients and their families throughout Braves Country.
Breast Cancer survivors, friends, and family members were invited to a pre-game reception and were welcomed by Laura Taylor – Breast Nurse Navigator at WellStar Douglas Hospital and Crystal Mantooth – Sr. Director of Community Events with American Cancer Society, and featuring guest speaker Shondia McFadden-Sabari, Executive Director of BOLDANDBREASTLESS, Inc. Shondia has been featured in national and local outlets such as Essence Magazine and Huffington Post. In 2011, at age 36, Shondia was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. She chose not to have reconstructive surgery because she feels that life is all the really matters. Shondia shares her story with countless women around the United States in an effort to encourage early detection and to provide support and hope to other survivors.
To close out the reception, Braves Pitcher, David Carpenter, helped recognize our Diamond of Hope award winners. This year inspirational survivors who have engaged in the fight against breast cancer or assisted other survivors through their difficult struggle were honored.
This incredible event would not have been possible without the help of volunteers from the Braves 400 Fan Club, Georgia State University, and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
Following the reception, more than 300 Breast Cancer survivors, participated in a moving on-field ceremony that ended with a balloon release representing the hope that a cure for Breast Cancer will be found. Joining the survivors on the field was Braves catcher Evan Gattis, who stood with Leticia Reinke, wife of his college baseball coach.
2013 Diamond of Hope Winners:
Erma Killings nominated by her son, Justin, and friend Ruby for being an inspiration to others diagnosed with Breast Cancer and not once letting the cancer dull her light.
Jennifer Wachacha nominated by her sister, Lovedy Paige Gross, for her outstanding dedication to fundraising for research and eventually a cure for Breast Cancer.
Christa McArthur nominated by her husband, David, for not missing a step when she was diagnosed, continuing her work as an oncology nurse and even mixing her own chemo on occasion.
TeMaya Eatmon nominated by Stacey Chavis for making it her personal mission to change the face of Breast Cancer so that younger women are made more aware of symptoms and signs for early detection.
Shondia McFadden-Sabari nominated by the Braves Community Affairs department for her outstanding work to generate awareness in the metro Atlanta area.
In its fifth year, the Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Classic presented by Bank of America, brought together young baseball teams from all across the Southeast to compete in a round robin/bracket style tournament. Due to the success and popularity of the program since our humble beginnings of 32 teams, the Youth Baseball Classic moved locations to Wills Park in Alpharetta, GA. The change in venue allowed the event to accommodate 24 additional teams of ball players ages 5 – 13.
Teams traveled from as far as South Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina to compete in the classic. Upon check-in they received goody bags, complete with hats, tomahawks, and t-shirts. Round play for the older teams began on Friday night and continued into Saturday morning. The first games on Saturday started bright and early, 7:00 am to be exact, and the field lights had to be turned on for those teams.
At noon on Saturday, the athletes had a group of special visitors including Alpharetta City Council Member Jim Gilvin, Mike Perry, Director of Recreation and Parks, Ben Easterling, Chair of the Alpharetta Recreation Commission, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Alex Wood, and of course, Homer the Brave! Participating teams then took team photos with Alex Wood before the skills competition for the 5/6 and 7/8 age divisions and one last game for the older teams. Athletes also had a chance to visit with former Braves star Brian Jordan and purchase autographed copies of his children’s books.
Saturday had even more in store for the athletes, friends, and families – including tickets to that night’s matchup against the Miami Marlins complete with a pregame parade. Sunday, the final day of the tournament, promised a slightly later start time and a higher level of competition – the championship games loomed at the end of the afternoon. The last game and trophy presentation wrapped up just before a lovely sunset appropriately capped off the 5th Youth Baseball Classic.
The 5th Annual Youth Baseball Classic was a huge success, and would not have been possible without the help of volunteer scorekeepers from the Braves 400 Fan Club, Georgia State University, and Bank of America Georgia.
13 Division: Upstate Showcase
11/12 Division: South Georgia Elite
9/10 Division: East Cobb Braves
7/8 Division: Bandits
5/6 Division: Warriors Orange
7/8 Base Running: Caden High – South Gwinnett Rattlers
7/8 Golden Arm: Mason Ray – Northport Rage
7/8 Home Run Derby – Walker Westmoreland – Macon Impact
5/6 Base Running: Steele Ingram – Warriors Orange
5/6 Base Golden Arm: Riley McCallum – North Macon All-Stars Blue
5/6 Home Run Derby: Cole Carr – North Macon All-Stars Blue
The Miracle League and Atlanta Braves both believe that “every child deserves to play baseball,” so one can imagine how excited both organizations were when Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids reached out interested in facilitating a Fantasy Camp specifically for Miracle League players.
The invitation was sent out to Miracle League teams from parks all over Braves Country, and participants showed up from as far away as North Carolina, Augusta, and Macon. The camp was held on Saturday, August 17th at Hunter Memorial Park in Douglasville.
Players arrived at the park at 10 am for check-in and were surprised to receive their very own, personalized Atlanta Braves jersey. The jerseys weren’t the only surprise in store for the Miracle League athletes, as the Mayor of Douglasville made a special stop as well! Mayor Harvey Persons then introduced the Braves special guests – starting with our very own Homer the Brave! Up next were Braves pitchers Alex Wood and Anthony Varvaro, followed by utility man Paul Janish, then Strength and Conditioning coach Phil Falco.
Before the skills fun could get started, Coach Falco made sure everyone was properly stretched out and ready. Participants were then broken into groups where they rotated from station to station. Alex Wood led the hitting station – participants hit from a tee on the pitcher’s mound into the fence behind homeplate. From there they moved to left field where Anthony Varvaro and volunteers from 5 Tool Sports Training Center in Douglasville helped athletes perfect the art of fielding a ground ball.
Shortly after fielding ground balls, the athletes moved over to the pop fly station. Infielder Paul Janish showed athletes how to properly hold their glove when catching pop flies. Last, but certainly not least, the athletes worked with Coach Falco and Douglas County High School Baseball Head Coach Alex Duhaime to teach the athletes the proper way to play catch.
To close out the clinic, participants all lined up to make a trip around the bases before enjoying lunch. In addition to their jerseys, all participants received an Atlanta Braves goody bag and tickets to that night’s matchup against the Washington Nationals.