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MLB, MLBPA fund Healthy Relationships grant

@alysonfooter
January 16, 2020

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association recently made a $3 million commitment to a new initiative titled the "Healthy Relationships Community Grant," a joint effort that will provide funding for the next two years to organizations that advocate for positive relationship practices. The people who will be eligible

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association recently made a $3 million commitment to a new initiative titled the "Healthy Relationships Community Grant," a joint effort that will provide funding for the next two years to organizations that advocate for positive relationship practices.

The people who will be eligible to benefit from this grant represent a wide-ranging group. Ultimately, the grants will provide critical services for vulnerable populations and those affected by domestic violence, including relationship management skills for the next generation. It will also support programs focused on mental health resiliency among vulnerable populations, and critical career and personal services to survivors of domestic violence.

"This program will support deserving organizations working to build and improve the mental health resiliency and relationship skills of those they serve, with a particular focus on youth, and to provide critical services to help domestic violence survivors rebuild their lives," said Melanie LeGrande, Major League Baseball's vice president of social responsibility. "This effort reflects Baseball's desire to invest in strategies that can help change the statistics and norms around domestic violence as well as support those who need help and assistance today."

The joint donation for the "Healthy Relationships Community Grant" represents an ongoing commitment by MLB and the MLBPA to provide support to causes that assist vulnerable populations, which has historically included financial assistance toward disaster relief and recovery as well as human trafficking prevention.

Examples of nonprofits organizations that would benefit from the Healthy Relationships Community Grant are safe havens/crisis shelters that provide long-term care for survivors of domestic violence or individuals escaping human trafficking; behavioral health or community-based organizations that provide mental health services for at-risk youth or veterans and their families, and organizations that educate youth on the importance and the practice of healthy relationships.

U.S.-based nonprofit and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can apply for localized support at MLB.com/HealthyRelationships throughout the year, with proposals reviewed on a quarterly grant cycle. 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 are 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.

"Our players are committed to supporting and promoting healthy relationships," said Leonor Colón, the MLBPA’s senior director of international and domestic player operations. "This initiative will allow us to support organizations that raise awareness of domestic violence, assist survivors and promote mental wellness."

Empowering the next generation to understand the components of a healthy relationship is intended as a prevention strategy through this initiative. 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.

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 programming or introducing new programming on how to break the cycle of violence.

Efforts toward building and improving mental health resiliency for vulnerable populations may include providing greater access to quality mental health services and wellness programs, preventative programs designed to reduce suicide, suicidal ideations and self-harm, training programs for mental health professionals and school or community-based interventions.

Strengthening and providing services to survivors of domestic violence is of critical importance to this grant initiative. Methods to achieve this include, among others, mental health support, life skills workshops and advocacy in an effort to reduce domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.