MLB reveals plans for Memorial Day donations
Royalties from apparel to provide support for those who've lost military loved ones
Major League Baseball is adjusting the way it recognizes Memorial Day this season -- specifically in how it distributes charitable contributions -- in an effort to lend its financial support to those who have been directly affected by the loss of a military loved one.
MLB announced on Friday that 100 percent of all royalties earned through the sales of on-field apparel on Memorial Day will be given to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and the Folds of Honor Foundation, for a minimum $500,000 collective donation.
"For the first time in 2018, we are donating our royalties to two specific charities that really follow the true meaning of Memorial Day," said Melanie LeGrande, MLB's vice president of social responsibility. "They are working with families that are grieving the loss of a military loved one. So it's appropriate and we're proud to support their efforts."
Previously, MLB's Memorial Day royalties funded the Welcome Back Veterans program, which provides services to assist the mental health needs of veterans and their families. Roughly $30 million in grants have been made through WBV since it was founded in 2008, largely supporting Centers of Excellence -- treatment venues that are internationally recognized for aiding veterans and providing research for post-traumatic stress disorder.
The essence in this year's shift is largely rooted in MLB relaying the meaning of the holiday: remembering those who died in active military service.
TAPS, which has assisted more than 75,000 families since 1994, operates as a peer-based initiative that provides emotional support to those affected by losing a loved one while serving, and Folds of Honor, founded in 2007, lends its hand by providing educational scholarships.
"In the past, we supported our Welcome Back Veterans initiative, and that really was focused on mental health and resilience for military families," LeGrande said. "We've decided to move forward in a different direction. It doesn't mean that we won't be supporting grants that are in that focused area, but for this particular holiday, we plan to make some positive changes to align them with the spirit of Memorial Day."
All teams on Monday will wear commemorative apparel that include caps, uniforms and socks with camouflage designs. For all U.S.-based teams, New Era's specially designed cap will feature a side patch that includes five stars to showcase the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Blue Jays' caps will include four maple leafs to commemorate the Canadian armed forces. All Majestic jerseys will have matching sleeve patches and green twill that would otherwise fill as the club's normal color, as will the socks.
Additionally, on Monday -- as has been the case since 1997 -- the National Moment of Remembrance will be recognized at 3 p.m. local time at all ballparks, with in-game action and pregame ceremonies being paused to observe an extended moment of silence in honor of those who have given their lives in service to the country.