Rays awards $150,000 to local nonprofits
The Rays Baseball Foundation, the Tampa Bay Rays charity, awarded $150,000 Tuesday to three local nonprofits through the club's All Star Grant.
Each organization received $50,000; both the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Tampa Bay the the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus counties plan to use it for their Sports Buddies program. The Community Tampa Bay will use it for their Anytown program, which is a diversity awareness program for high school kids. Executive director Stacie Blake said the Rays donation will fund their program for a year. Blake brought several of her students to Tuesday's presentation at Tropicana Field - having not told them that her organization was selected -- and the kids screamed and cheered after the "surprise" announcement.
The Rays Baseball Foundation has now invested $600,000 into the local community in the 2008 calendar year.
"Investing in the community is a cornerstone of our business and is also our responsiblity as a Major League Baseball team," Rays president Matt Silverman said. "The gratitude from the recipients and the knowledge that they're going to do great things with it, means so much to us. It's almost like winning another game. There was real excitement in the room today."
The three programs were chosen from a candidate pool of 39 community nonprofit agencies.
“In these economic times, we need all the funds we can get,” said Susan Rolston, CEO for Big Brothers Big Sisters Serving Pinellas, Hernando & Citrus Counties. “This money will help us make 50 new matches on our side and 50 new matches on the Tampa Bay side."
-- JOE SMITH