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Red Sox named recipient of Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence
11/17/2010 2:36 PM ET
Major League Baseball announced today that the Boston Red Sox have been named the recipient of the inaugural Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence. Created by Major League Baseball and chosen by a Blue Ribbon Panel comprised of Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig and MLB Executives, the award recognizes the Red Sox extraordinary charitable programs, run by the Red Sox Foundation, which have resulted in significant and sustained community impact.

Commissioner Selig presented the club with the award today at the Industry Meetings in Orlando, FL, and announced that Major League Baseball will give a $10,000 grant to the Red Sox Foundation, the official team charity of the Boston Red Sox. In singling out the Red Sox for this prestigious award, the Commissioner praised the depth of the Red Sox charitable programs and specifically the impact of the Red Sox Scholars program, the educational cornerstone of the Red Sox Foundation.

"I am enormously proud of the charitable efforts made by all 30 Clubs this season. Their contributions have made a significant impact in communities across the country," said Commissioner Selig. "I congratulate the entire Boston Red Sox organization, and particularly the Red Sox Foundation, for their commitment to the future of hundreds of young people from the inner-cities of Boston."

"Boston is one of our nation's most vibrant and historic cities. The Red Sox, as an integral part of the fabric of life here, have terrific civic opportunities and responsibilities," said Principal Owner John Henry. "Through the work of the Red Sox Foundation, it's clear that a baseball team can make as much of an impact off the field as it does on it. We are humbled to be the recipients of the Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence and are honored to accept this award on behalf of our fans and our civic partners who support the foundation and its important work."

Accepting the award on behalf of the team was Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner.

"When John Henry, Larry Lucchino and I joined our partners to become owners of the Boston Red Sox, we pledged to not only field a competitive team, but to harness the passion of Red Sox fans to create positive change in our community," said Werner. "With the support of our players, sponsors and the generous fans of Red Sox Nation, the Red Sox Foundation has become a philanthropic force in our community. We're especially proud of the programs we have developed. Our Red Sox Scholars program, presented by our official hospital Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, helps talented but economically disadvantaged kids, and our new Red Sox Foundation Home Base Program supports veterans returning from serving our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan with Traumatic brain injuries and combat stress. When added to the team's other longstanding charitable programs like the Jimmy Fund, we can see the power that baseball has to create community partnerships that strengthen all of us."

"John, Tom, and every one of our partners are committed to winning, to preserving Fenway Park, and to being active participants in our community," said President/CEO Larry Lucchino. "This recognition from Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball is thus important to us and to this franchise, and we are deeply honored to have been chosen as the first recipients of this award."

"New England fans are passionate about our Red Sox, but we are just as passionate about the work the team does off the field," said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. "The Red Sox Foundation is a civic and charitable leader in our community. They demonstrate teamwork where it counts most, by helping open the doors to college for our talented Boston Public School students. We are especially honored that MLB has highlighted the Red Sox Scholars program. It shows the impact professional sports teams can have when, like the Red Sox Foundation, they join with our public schools and with cities across the country to help those struggling with poverty, illness, stigma and low expectations. We congratulate the Sox on this award. All of us in Boston and beyond are proud to be the capital of Red Sox 'Foundation Nation'."

Each year, the Red Sox select 25 academically talented, economically disadvantaged Boston Public School students in 5th grade as Red Sox Scholars. Through the program, run by the Red Sox Foundation, the Scholars receive tutoring, mentoring, after school enrichment opportunities, summer camp assistance, and other leadership development activities. Red Sox Foundation staff members work with the Scholars intensively in 6th through 12th grades and each Scholar is awarded a $10,000 college scholarship redeemable upon graduation from high school with enrollment in an accredited college, and on condition of continued good citizenship. There are currently 200 Red Sox Scholars with members of the first class selected in 2003 now college freshmen.

The Red Sox Scholars program is presented by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), the Official Hospital of the Boston Red Sox. Over the years, almost 200 BIDMC physicians, nurses, medical technicians and administrators have been individually paired with the Scholars as Medical Champions. BIDMC also hosts "Shadow Days" for the Scholars each year, giving them an opportunity to visit the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, the Simulation Center and Skills Lab, and other parts of the medical center to be exposed to a variety of careers in medicine.

"From the day we began our partnership with the Red Sox almost eight years ago we knew that collectively we had a real opportunity to make a difference in the community," said BIDMC President and CEO Paul Levy. "There is no program that exemplifies that opportunity more than the Red Sox Scholars Program. It has been a joy, and we are grateful to our friends at the Red Sox for asking us to be a part of it."

The Red Sox Scholars program is also generously supported by grants from Target, The Highland Street Foundation, The Peter Lynch Foundation and Microsoft as well as Red Sox fans through special fundraising events conducted by the Red Sox Foundation.

The official team charity of the Boston Red Sox, the Red Sox Foundation was founded by Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, President/CEO Larry Lucchino and their partners in 2002, and seeks to channel the passion of Red Sox Nation for the team into programs serving at-risk children, wounded veterans and their families. Over the past eight years, the Red Sox Foundation has provided nearly $40 million to non-profit programs including the Red Sox Scholars and the team's other four Cornerstone Programs, also praised by MLB.

In 2009, the Red Sox launched the Red Sox Foundation Home Base Program, which provides support services for local veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). The program provides evaluations and clinical care for veterans with PTSD and TBI; offers outreach and support services for families of affected veterans; conducts research on better treatments and ways to prevent such injuries; and has created a community education component that teaches health care providers, social workers and clergy about the symptoms and treatments for these increasingly common wounds of war. In May of 2010, the Red Sox Foundation launched the "Run to Home Base Presented by New Balance", a 9K fundraiser that ended at home plate in Fenway Park. More than 2,500 runners, including many active duty military and veterans, participated in the run at Fenway, some 40,000 donors contributed to the cause and six US Army units in Iraq also made simultaneous runs in support of the program. In what was the largest single fundraiser in Red Sox Foundation history, the event raised over $2.5 million for the Home Base Program. The second Run to Home Base to raise additional funds for the program is scheduled to take place at Fenway in May 2011.

The Foundation's other cornerstone programs include the Jimmy Fund, which supports breakthrough cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Through the Red Sox, Red Sox Foundation and the club's TV and radio rightsholders, NESN and WEEI, more than $30 million has been raised for cancer research and treatment through the annual NESN/WEEI Radiotelethon, the Jimmy Fund Fantasy Day at Fenway Park, the annual Rally Against Cancer, Red Sox logoed license plates, player appearances, and a variety of other special events and fundraising activities.

The Red Sox Foundation's other core commitments include a philanthropic partnership with The Dimock Center in Roxbury, serving over 40,000 children and families in Boston's most disadvantaged neighborhood, and the Red Sox Foundation RBI/Rookie Leagues, which served 4,000 youth this summer through donations of baseball and softball equipment, coaches, umpires and off the field leadership development programs.

In addition to contributions from the team owners and sponsors, the Red Sox Foundation raises funds to support these programs and additional grants through annual fan favorite events including the Welcome Home Dinner Presented by Covidien, with all of the team's players and hosted by Emmy Award nominee Mike O'Malley, the annual Picnic in the Park, The Monster Mash, Fenway to the Runway with the Red Sox Wives and Foundation Nation Community Service Days. The Foundation also hosts a 50-50 raffle during every Red Sox home game. The Executive Director of the Red Sox Foundation is team Vice President for Corporate Affairs Meg Vaillancourt.

In honor of the impact of the team charity's programs, the Red Sox Foundation was nationally recognized in 2009 as "Best Team Charity in Sports" with the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Sports Philanthropy Project.

Last month, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield received the prestigious 2010 Roberto Clemente Award, bestowed annually to the Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions to their Clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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