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MLB, YouCaring team up for crowdfunding

MLB.com @Marathoner

There's an important new way to "Take me out with the crowd."

San Francisco-based YouCaring and Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that they have entered into a partnership to bring crowdfunding to millions of baseball fans. Through the partnership, MLB, its clubs and its players will have the ability to set up crowdfunding campaigns on behalf of individuals and charities they support.

There's an important new way to "Take me out with the crowd."

San Francisco-based YouCaring and Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that they have entered into a partnership to bring crowdfunding to millions of baseball fans. Through the partnership, MLB, its clubs and its players will have the ability to set up crowdfunding campaigns on behalf of individuals and charities they support.

"Major League Baseball has an incredible ability to harness the power of its brands to do good for the communities it serves, all over the world," said YouCaring CEO Dan Saper. "Whether it's for disaster-relief crowdfunding or helping a longtime fan fight cancer, YouCaring is here to serve that spectrum of needs. We couldn't be more excited to partner with MLB to help accelerate that work."

YouCaring, the leading free crowdfunding platform in the U.S., has raised $800 million in peer-to-peer donations from 8 million donors around the world since its inception in 2011. The organization exists to bring communities together to support one another socially, financially and emotionally.

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or cause by raising money from a large number of people, typically through the Internet. It is a form of peer-to-peer fundraising that harnesses the power of social networks to raise awareness and draw donations from around the world for online campaigns.

"Crowdfunding provides the unique ability for people to come together in support of individuals, groups and causes they care about," said Melanie LeGrande, MLB's vice president of social responsibility. "Partnering with YouCaring gives us a great opportunity to engage our fans, clubs and players in a new way that gives back to our communities."

Unlike other crowdfunding sites, YouCaring does not charge fundraisers a fee to raise money on the platform and relies on voluntary donations from donors to fund operations and keep the platform free for fundraisers. In March 2016, YouCaring acquired GiveForward, another pioneer in the crowdfunding space, to further expand its fundraising and donor reach.

In December 2016, YouCaring worked with the Athletics to raise money for victims of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland that killed nearly 40 people. The campaign raised more than $500,000 and became the single largest fundraiser in the Oakland A's Community Fund history, with nearly all of the funds raised in just the first week.

"We are proud to be the first MLB team to work with YouCaring," said A's president Dave Kaval. "Because of this existing partnership, when tragedy hit our community, we were able to activate a campaign quickly to support the victims and their families."

Visit MLBCommunity.org for more information about MLB's outreach efforts.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.