Mets Ownership, General Manager Sandy Alderson, Manager Mickey Callaway and his coaches and players joined with fans celebrating the start of the season at the Mets Welcome Home Dinner presented by Alliance Building Services. The event raised almost $800,000 for the Mets Foundation, which funds and promotes a variety of educational, social and athletic programs and other charitable causes. Guests mingled with Mets players and enjoyed cuisine from Mets culinary partners including Josh Capon, Pat LaFrieda, Dave Pasternack, Michael White and Myriad Restaurant Group. The Mets honored Joseph J. Esposito, Commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department, with the Ya Gotta Believe! Award, for dedicating his life to protecting New Yorkers through his more than 40 years of public service. The fundraising dinner also shined a spotlight on Mets Community Partner, River Fund New York, an anti-poverty organization based in Richmond Hill, Queens. Jerry Blevins assumed the role of late-night talk show host with "Dinner with Friends," where he interviewed and played games with his bullpen mates Anthony Swarzack, AJ Ramos and Paul Sewald. At the conclusion of the fundraising dinner, guests were treated to a "Victory Lap" around on the field and into the newly redesigned Mets Clubhouse.
The New York Mets Foundation funds and promotes a variety of educational, social and athletic programs and other charitable causes. Founded in 1963, it continues its mission to invest in the future of our community, and to provide assistance to myriad organizations that benefit children and others in need.
A registered 501(c) 3 charity, the Mets Foundation takes no portion of the funds raised to offset internal costs. The New York Mets pay 100% of the Foundation's overhead to ensure that the entirety of a donation is directed toward helping others (online donations are subject to a third party service fee).
A copy of the latest annual report of the New York Mets Foundation may be obtained, upon request, from the New York Mets Foundation, Citi Field, Flushing, NY 11368 or from the New York State Attorney General's Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10271.
The Mets have partnered with Delta Air Lines for the "Ya Gotta Read!" program to help foster a love of reading in students. The program is offered to third, fourth and fifth graders at several schools throughout Queens.
The students are challenged to read one grade-level book a week during the six-week program which launches on the same day as Mets Spring Training. Students receive Mets prizes for reading a certain amount of books. The class that reads the most books will receive a visit from a Mets player and Mr. Met.
During the inaugural year, the Mets offered the pilot program to 1,000 third, fourth and fifth graders at P.S. 19 Marino Jeantet, one of the largest elementary schools in New York City. The students stepped up to the plate and read a total of 4,061 books.
The program is expanding to 5,000 students in 2018.
The New York Mets teamed up with Pitch in for baseball for the inaugural Sandlot Stars Equipment Donation program. Mets employees volunteered their time to assemble team kits which were distributed to 50 youth baseball and softball teams across all five boroughs. Players and coaches from all 50 teams came to Citi Field to pick up their New York Mets Foundation branded equipment. Each team received a team bag, bats, helmets, gloves, catchers gear, and baseballs or softballs. The Sandlot Stars program meets the goal of the Mets Foundation by helping local youth baseball and softball organizations who are working with children from underserved areas.
The Holiday Shopping Spree presented by Delta Air Lines helped 10 children from Queens experience a holiday season like never before. Mets players Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith and Delta volunteers surprised the children with a $400 gift card to spend on themselves and then helped the children go shopping.
After the shopping was over, the children enjoyed a pizza party and made holiday decorations with the players and Delta volunteers. The players surprised the children again with a second $400 gift card to give to their guardians to help with the holidays or basic needs of the household.