Last year, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced a new grant partnership formed to provide funding to various nonprofit organizations that support survivors of domestic violence, mental health resiliency and developing positive relationship skills with youth.
On Thursday, MLB and the MLBPA announced the first recipients of this funding, through the joint "Healthy Relationships Community Grant" initiative. The equal distribution of $500,000 is going to 10 nonprofit organizations throughout the United States, as the first of seven donation phases that will continue through 2021, totaling $3 million.
The grant recipients are:
• House of Ruth (Pomona, Calif.): assisting survivors of domestic violence (grant will support general operating expenses)
• Houston Area Women's Center (Houston): survivors of domestic violence (grant will support general operating expenses)
• International Medical Corps (Los Angeles): mental health resiliency (grant will support suicide prevention in Puerto Rico)
• Lutheran Settlement House (Philadelphia): survivors of domestic violence (grant will support bilingual domestic violence program)
• Sanctuary for Families, Inc. (New York): survivors of domestic violence (grant will support general operating expenses)
• Texas Advocacy Project, Inc. (Austin, Texas): relationship skills (grant will support teen outreach program)
• Homefront, Inc. (Lawrenceville, N.J.): mental health resiliency (grant will support program for homeless youth)
• Good+Foundation, Inc. (New York): relationship skills (grant will support breaking the cycle of paternal absence)
• Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Inc. (Newburyport, Mass.): survivors of domestic violence (grant will support children's safety project)
• YWCA of San Diego County (San Diego): survivors of domestic violence (grant will support Becky's House Domestic Violence Program)
"We are grateful for the opportunity to assist these extraordinary organizations doing critical work to support vulnerable communities, especially in this time of crisis," said Melanie LeGrande, vice president of social responsibility, Major League Baseball. "Our collective support will provide emergency financial assistance and a meaningful contribution to address their greatest needs, which includes strengthening service delivery related to increased incidence of domestic violence and self-harm during the COVID-19 pandemic."
This initiative is intended as a prevention strategy to empower the next generation to understand the components of a healthy relationship. Organizational efforts supported by grant funding may include public education, with a preference for youth populations, on the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships as it relates to interpersonal violence -- for example, an intimate partner, family or teen dating.
Examples of education efforts include creating, producing and distributing public service announcements with relevant content and call to action as well as conferences or events focusing on awareness. Funding can also go toward supporting existing, or introducing new, programming on how to break the cycle of violence.
The overall initiative is a $3 million commitment to provide funding in 2020 and '21.
"Players remain committed to supporting and promoting healthy relationships, especially during these unprecedented times," said Leonor Colon Sr., the MLBPA's director international and domestic player operations. "We are thankful to all the organizations and their staff who are committed to supporting survivors of domestic violence, promotion of mental wellness and relationship skills. Congratulations to the organizations that have been awarded the first round of grants. Each of them is eminently deserving and a terrific example of what we can achieve together to improve the world around us."
Nonprofits and NGOs may apply for grants of up to $50,000 for general operating or programmatic funding for one or more of the following categories: Healthy Relationship Practices/Education, Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence, and/or Mental Health Resiliency.
Grant applications will be evaluated quarterly based on assessment of the population served, organization strength, impact, partnerships, sustainability of the programs and more. Additionally, MLB Club charities and Major League Players have been encouraged to apply for up to $25,000 as part of a gift matching component of the initiative, with grant evaluations based on documentation of direct funding and commitment to the issue.