Rays, Rowdies establish fund to help non-profits

The COVID-19 Relief Grant Program will provide financial assistance to Tampa Bay-based organizations.
Pitcher Blake Snell hosted a 2019 bowling event for Big Brothers Big Sisters, one of many community organizations the Rays support.
Pitcher Blake Snell hosted a 2019 bowling event for Big Brothers Big Sisters, one of many community organizations the Rays support. [ Times photo (2019) ]
Published April 16, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays and Rowdies are offering financial help to non-profit organizations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund have established a COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, which will aid organizations with 501(c)(3) status that focus on providing hunger relief, shelter and/or health and wellness programs. (For more information, see

There is about $300,000 available for the fund, depending on the number of applicants, from an overall commitment of $1 million by the Rays and Rowdies. Of the $700,000 already committed, about $350,000 is going to recipients of its annual Community Partnership and Community Fund grants, which were also directed to organizations providing help and relief in some form.

“We are proud of how the Tampa Bay community has come together to respond to the current crisis,” Rays president Brian Auld said in a team release. “The Rays Baseball Foundation and Rowdies Soccer Fund was established to support important work being done by nonprofit organizations in our region, and we’re glad to provide this funding so that those affected by COVID-19 can continue to offer relief and opportunity to our neighbors most in need at this time.”

Related: MLB teams, including Rays, participate in coronavirus antibody testing

Receiving community partnership grants (typically $15,000 and more) are:

ALS Association Florida Chapter; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay; Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast; CASA St. Petersburg; Crisis Center of Tampa Bay; Feeding Tampa Bay; Florida Holocaust Museum; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay; St. Petersburg College; Starting Right, Now; Tampa Metro YMCA; YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg; YMCA of the Suncoast.

Receiving community fund grants (typically $5,000-$10,000) are:

211 Tampa Bay Cares; A Kids Place; Alpha House of Pinellas; Dawning Family Services; Eckerd Connects; Meals on Wheels (nine-county region, from Citrus to Charlotte); Metro Inclusive Health; Metropolitan Ministries; Ready for Life; Salvation Army; St. Petersburg Free Clinic; St. Vincent de Paul Charities; The Kind Mouse Productions; The Spring of Tampa Bay; The Thomas Promise Foundation.

Related: How sports are helping in the coronavirus fight

The Rays/Rowdies are closing in on meeting their goal for a previously announced donation to Feeding Tampa Bay, with $376,500 of the targeted $400,000 raised. The teams donated $100,000 and agreed to contribute another $150,000 to match community donations.

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The Rays and Rowdies also joined the Bucs and Lightning in making $100,000 contributions to Tampa’s Relief Now, Rise Together Fund, designed to help residents and small businesses facing economic uncertainty.

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