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Twins hit big home run with community efforts

Hope Week, Community Fund provide resources for children in need

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Twins didn't have the All-Star Game to assist them with their community efforts like they did in 2014, they still made a major impact throughout the Twin Cities and beyond in '15 with their involvement in several charities and non-profits.

Minnesota focuses much of its charity efforts through the Twins Community Fund, which aims to assist in providing resources for children to play baseball and softball such as renovated fields, new equipment, grants for coaches and clinics put on by current and former players.

"The Twins have long been dedicated to giving back in the community so I'd say 2015 was kind of getting back to our normal levels," director of community relations Bryan Donaldson said. "Obviously, the All-Star Game allowed us to give away dollars in large quantities and allowed us to do some big things, but every year with our community efforts and the Twins Community Fund, we do big things."

The Twins are proud of their efforts to create long-standing impacts in the community with the renovation and creation of several baseball and softball fields throughout the Twin Cities area. They've renovated more than 600 fields in the Upper Midwest over the last 15 years, as it remains a major emphasis because it brings people together.

"For us to give back with legacy-style projects, it really impacts the community for a long time to come," Donaldson said. "When it's a baseball field or a rec center, they serve a primary purpose such as being used for baseball or softball, but in a lot of places we do this in, they become new centers of the community."

One of their biggest efforts is their annual Hope Week, which was held July 6-12, and featured volunteer efforts led by players each day of the week. Players who participated this year included Trevor Plouffe, Torii Hunter, Brian Dozier, Glen Perkins, Joe Mauer and Brian Duensing. Twins manager Paul Molitor was also active, and is a major supporter of several non-profits, including Camp Heartland, the Salvation Army and the creation of a children's hospice center called Crescent Cove.

"We really enjoy Hope Week because it not only lets us focus for a week on those who are most in need, but it also showcases how much our players do in the community," Donaldson said. "They want to give back and they're the ones who decide what they want to do that week and where they want to go, and what they want to support."

With the holiday season coming up, the Twins will ramp up their efforts, especially from those who work in the front office. They'll host the annual Twins Holiday Week of Giving, which is similar to Hope Week with different charity events each day.

"We'll do our annual Holiday Week of Giving, but that's a different opportunity because it's more of our front-office staff, but they're able to bring in that cheer and bring it to non-profit organizations," Donaldson said. "It's much like Hope Week, but it's primarily our front office."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.
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