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Cruz, Dodgers win ESPYs for humanitarian efforts

@MannyOnMLB
June 22, 2020

The Dodgers organization and Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz were honored with 2020 ESPY Awards on Sunday night for their community contributions off the field. ESPN announced the Dodgers as the winners of the 2020 Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year for their Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's tireless efforts to

The Dodgers organization and Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz were honored with 2020 ESPY Awards on Sunday night for their community contributions off the field.

ESPN announced the Dodgers as the winners of the 2020 Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year for their Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's tireless efforts to address the most pressing issues facing the Los Angeles community, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation has donated 279,280 meals and $659,227 in in-kind donations to help vulnerable populations facing homelessness, food insecurity, lack of basic needs and significant anxiety due to the pandemic.

The LADF has also been focused on improving education, health care, homelessness and social justice in the community. The foundation will use the $100,000 award from ESPN to continue its mission in these areas.

“LADF was built for this moment in time. The trauma of a pandemic and social justice events has exacerbated the significant disparities in our communities. We know that inequality can only be dismantled through proactive and strategic interventions, and we are starting with the root causes,” said Nichol Whiteman, CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. “This award is a celebration of our organization’s accomplishments, but we are far from done. LADF will not waver. We will be part of the solution.”

The foundation supports more than 100 nonprofits each year and serves more than 10,000 youth annually through Dodgers RBI, its sports-based youth development program. It also provides 368,000 children access to safe, playable spaces through 51 "Dodgers Dreamfields," among several other initiatives.

Cruz was awarded the 2020 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award for his dedication to serving his hometown of Las Matas De Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic, as well as the Minneapolis-St. Paul community. Among his many initiatives are donations of equipment and funds for health care, law enforcement and education infrastructure in his native country and other areas in Latin America. He has also engaged with Twin Cities area youth, including hosting a clinic for Twins RBI All-Stars last year.

Cruz will be directing the $100,000 award from ESPN to his Boomstick23 Foundation, through which he conducts his community initiatives both in Latin America and the Twin Cities region.

“Over our 60 years in Minnesota, the Twins have been incredibly blessed to have had so many great players who happen to be even better people -- Nelson Cruz is a shining example,” said Twins president & CEO Dave St. Peter. “Through his work in the Dominican Republic, Twins Territory and beyond, Nellie continues to touch countless lives. He lives our organizational pillars of passion, hustle, heart and fun each and every day, and we are incredibly proud to have Nelson Cruz as part of our Minnesota Twins family.”

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.