Snaring the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was quite the coup for the Minnesota Twins and the Twin Cities. But who knew that it would be such a hit for Minnesota charities as well?
On Friday, the Twins and Major League Baseball announced that the team, the Twins Community Fund, the Pohlad Family Foundation and the MLB Charities will contribute more than $8 million to local organizations and community projects connected to the celebration of the 2014 game.
It is the “the most extensive community legacy effort in All-Star Game history,” the Twins and Major League Baseball announced.
Much of the money is coming from the Pohlads and the Twins — along with gate proceeds from the game’s Home Run Derby. It will fund projects ranging from a renovated Boys & Girls Club in Minneapolis to developing a nature preserve in St. Paul.
The idea, said Kevin Smith, the Twins’ senior director of corporate communications and broadcasting, is to make each All-Star Game have a lasting effect on its host communities long after the last out has been recorded.
The Twins and the Pohlads are giving more than $8 million total. Last year’s game in New York resulted in more than $5 million going to community causes; the year before in Kansas City, $4 million, Smith said.
“This is the legacy that will live on for generations, for years,” Smith said of the 13 projects receiving funds.
Recipients include Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, National Recreation and Park Association, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Local projects include a field in Hibbing, Minn., specially designed for youths with disabilities, a mobile eye clinic to provide service to 43,000 uninsured and underinsured adults and children in the Twin Cities, and the construction of new homes for previously homeless military veterans on the VA Medical Center campus.
Youth ball fields are being renovated and expanded, too — including Northeast Athletic Park and NSP Field in Minneapolis, El Rio Vista Baseball Field in St. Paul and Lee Park in Robbinsdale. At El Rio Vista, the money means the West Side of St. Paul gets a premium youth baseball field — complete with lights, scoreboard, fencing and dugouts. It also has attracted other donations to develop even more fields, said Brad Meyer, a spokesman for St. Paul Parks and Recreation.
“Without this funding, we wouldn’t have had all these different partners come out of the woodwork,” Meyer said.
It’s much the same for the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis, CEO John Stanoch said. A $500,000 grant will enable the facility, which gives families of gravely ill children a safe and comfortable place to stay while the child is getting treatment, to renovate all 48 of its guest rooms, common areas and kitchens. The organization serves 5,000 families a year, free of charge.
“We knew we had to do this work, but because of other needs, it was not in the cards for another three to five years,” Stanoch said of the Twins and MLB funding. “This gives us everything we need to do to make this place last another half generation or more.”
He added: “As a nonprofit leader, this means the world,” he said of the Twins’ donation. “And it’s all as a result of the All-Star Game being in the community.”
James Walsh • 651-925-5041