How childhood friendship inspired Taylor's charity work

September 15th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Juan Toribio’s Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

LOS ANGELES -- As  tried to establish himself as a full-time Major Leaguer, his focus was strictly on baseball and trying to improve on his craft. While baseball continues to be his main focus, Taylor knew once he was in position to do so, he wanted to make a difference for those in need.

Taylor’s passion to help has been with him from an early age. It continued to grow as he watched his childhood best friend, Kyle, fight a battle with a rare bone cancer in his leg. Kyle ultimately lost the battle with cancer.

“He was one of my best friends growing up through middle school, high school and even into college,” Taylor said of Kyle. “My relationship with Kyle and him losing his fight with cancer was kind of the driving force.”

In 2021, Taylor started his foundation with an emphasis to battle childhood cancer. It’s a cause that doesn’t get nearly as much publicity as other forms of cancer, but one that continues to affect millions of families.

As part of his pledge to raise awareness, Taylor held a virtual concert to help out a few foundations in the Virginia Beach, Va., area, where he grew up. Over the last few seasons Taylor has also hosted events at Topgolf in the L.A. area, which he now calls home.

Those efforts are just a few reasons why Taylor was named the Dodgers’ nominee for the 2023 Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes the Major League player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions on and off the field.

“I’m extremely honored,” Taylor said. “My whole career I was really focused on baseball like 100 percent and almost nothing else. Obviously baseball is No. 1 priority and focus, but once I was able to finally establish myself and secure my position a little bit, I felt like playing for the Dodgers and being given the platform, it felt almost like a responsibility to use it and try to make an impact elsewhere.”

Taylor, who is having a bounce-back season at the plate for the Dodgers, says he’s excited to continue his work through his foundation. His goal is to continue Kyle’s memory and impact others in any way he can. 

Taylor and his wife, Mary, raised $250,000 during their first CT3 foundation event in ‘21. This past year the Taylors committed to make an impact for Driving for Hope in Los Angeles, which raised another $300,000 and benefited Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ “Children’s Fund,” which supports the hospitals’ innovative research programs. 

The CT3 Foundation also sponsored a Diversity and Inclusion Carnival during Pride Month this year. Taylor and Mary unveiled a brand-new garden and meditation space for the club. 

Teammate Clayton Kershaw and former teammate Justin Turner -- both past recipients of the Clemente Award -- are two players Taylor has admired. Whether or not Taylor joins them remains to be seen, but what’s important to Taylor is that he continues to raise awareness.

“JT and Kersh, they’ve done amazing things for the Los Angeles area and I’ve always looked up to them and they’ve kind of paved the way,” Taylor said. “It’s cool to get some recognition.”