Outfielder Kyle Schwarber has been hitting it out of the park -- both on and off the field -- since stepping up to the plate wearing Phillies pinstripes.
To the delight of fans, Kyle debuted as a Phillie on Opening Day in April 2022, leading off with a ‘Schwarb Bomb’ in his first at-bat at Citizens Bank Park. He would later lead the National League in home runs, winning his first Silver Slugger Award and contributing to the Phillies’ first World Series appearance since 2009. Kyle’s powerful swing and clutch home runs continue to make him a force to be reckoned with, but his impact as an advocate for first responders makes this All-Star player stand out from the rest.
Kyle is highly passionate about recognizing the sacrifices of those who serve, a sentiment which originated from his childhood in Middletown, Ohio, where his father was a decorated police chief for 40 years, his mother was a nurse and police dispatcher, and his sister a member of the Army National Guard -- and later a member of the town’s police force. Kyle has often said that if he weren’t in the Major Leagues, he would undoubtedly be a first responder, just like many of his family members.
Growing up in a family of first responders, Kyle understands the importance of giving back and has been using his Major League platform to thank members of the police, fire and military for all they have done for their communities and country through Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes, a community program created with his wife and high school sweetheart, Paige, in 2017.
The mission of Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes is near and dear to Kyle’s heart: To express gratitude for the unique sacrifices of first responders and their families by creating positive experiences, as well as funding wellness, education and crisis needs for first responder families.
Since the program began, more than $625,000 in grants have been awarded to nonprofits that support causes in cities Kyle and Paige have called home, including Philadelphia. In addition, the duo has hosted more than 550 first responder families at the ballpark, where they thanked each hero for their service and sacrifice during meet and greets on-field during batting practice.
The slugger and his wife have also hosted various events, such as a Neighborhood Heroes Appreciation Party in The Yard at Citizens Bank Park, where Kyle himself took on the role of pitcher for a Wiffle ball game with dozens of first responder kids, all before hosting those families for a game. The Schwarbers are also getting ready to hold their first Schwarber’s Block Party charity event in Philadelphia this September, all to raise awareness and funds to benefit first responders.
Kyle’s efforts to make a difference for neighborhood heroes have been far-reaching. Numerous nonprofits in Philadelphia have received financial and community support from Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes program, including the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation, Philadelphia Police Foundation, Philadelphia Fire Foundation, TAPS, Team Foster and USO.
His program’s impact has reached the Chicago and Washington, D.C., areas as well, helping such organizations as the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, Chicago Fire Department Foundation, Fisher House, Folded Flag Foundation, Food on the Stove, Ignite the Spirit, Road Home Foundation, The Mission Continues, Washington DC Police Foundation and more.
All this support has much to do with what Kyle experienced during his childhood, and which was that special connection that first responders have with each other, especially how they back each other up and look after one another. This same show of camaraderie is what Kyle brings with him to the clubhouse each game. It was also evident when the family of fallen Philadelphia police officer Christopher Fitzgerald came to Citizens Bank Park recently as part of Kyle’s Neighborhood Heroes program. In an unbelievably heartwarming moment, Kyle met with the children of Sergeant Fitzgerald, providing the kids with a brief break from their grief while realizing that he, too, could have been in a similar situation growing up in a first responder household.