LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation hosted more than 300 schoolchildren from the community surrounding Dodger Stadium at their annual Holiday Party earlier this month.Dodgers Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson and former Dodgers Dennis Powell, Billy Ashley, Ken Landreaux and Matt Luke held
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation hosted more than 300 schoolchildren from the community surrounding Dodger Stadium at their annual Holiday Party earlier this month.
Dodgers Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson and former Dodgers Dennis Powell, Billy Ashley, Ken Landreaux and Matt Luke held a baseball clinic that included hitting in the batting cages and pitching in the bullpen, followed by a lunch provided by Levy Restaurants.
"I spend every day here working out anyway, so to come here early, have some fun with the kids, play some games and give them something positive to talk about for a long time, to try to be a bright spot as much as possible, is something that we don't take for granted," said Bellinger.
The players helped distribute toys and books, donated by FOX Networks Group, to each child. The event also featured a raffle for 20 bicycles donated by Rolling Deep 4 Charities.
"A lot of these kids are in neighborhoods where they struggle," said Naomi Rodriguez, Dodgers vice president of external affairs and community relations. "Not only do they come to the best stadium in the country, they walk away with a gift, they get to see Santa, J.T., Joc, Belly.
"They have a great start for their holiday season. For some, this gift is the only gift they get this season. That's the magic of the season and to let them know they're not forgotten."
Neighborhood schools that participated in the party included: Ann Street Elementary School; Castelar Elementary School; Clifford Math and Technology Magnet; Doris Place Elementary School; Elysian Heights Elementary School; Logan Academy of Global Ecology; Solano Avenue Elementary School; Worthington Elementary School from Inglewood Unified School District; and KIPP Vida Preparatory Academy.
"The Dodgers lead us in a direction to give back a lot," Pederson said. "It's fun to come out here and give back. Got to play some kickball. It's a blast."
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation also announced 2018 cumulative grant donations of $1.6 million to 70 local nonprofit organizations, impacting 600,000 underserved youth in the region. These awards are part of LADF's annual grants program, which disseminates funds three times a year to organizations who fall within its three pillars -- Education and Literacy, Health and Wellness and Sports and Recreation.
"Our city is full of amazing organizations serving youth who need help accessing resources and opportunities, thus leveling the playing field," said Nichol Whiteman, executive director of LADF. "We consider these organizations allies, true partners, working alongside us to transform lives, thereby making Los Angeles a better place. Our focus has been, and will continue to be, supporting organizations who allow youth to thrive regardless of neighborhood or socioeconomic status."
In addition to grants, LADF has invested nearly $2.5 million into its 2018 direct programs -- Dodgers Dreamfields, Dodgers RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) and LA Reads.
Since its inception, LADF has distributed more than $25 million in programs and grants to hundreds of organizations across Los Angeles through the support of donors and fans who support LADF by purchasing a 50/50 raffle ticket, bidding on silent auction items, sponsoring events and providing general donations.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.