The Toronto Blue Jays have been named recipient of the 2020 Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence, Major League Baseball announced today. The honor recognizes the club’s Blue Jays Community Commitment, a $7.5 million COVID-19 response plan that supported those disproportionately affected by the pandemic across Canada, specifically addressing food insecurity and the unprecedented social isolation that many young Canadians faced. This is the second Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence for the Blue Jays, which was previously honored in 2012 for its Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy initiative.
The Blue Jays, who are only the second MLB club to win the award twice (Boston Red Sox – 2010 & 2019), are being acknowledged for their extensive efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
8.1 million meals delivered to food insecure Canadians;
14,200 youth participated in Jays Care virtual programming;
1,500 teachers, youth leaders, and volunteers trained by Jays Care to run best-in-class virtual programming;
20,000 volunteer hours from Blue Jays, Jays Care, and Rogers staff from coast-to-coast-to-coast;
2,000 adaptive equipment kits delivered to families of children living with disabilities (Challenger Baseball)
“In these unprecedented times, Clubs across our League have stepped up in their efforts to provide meaningful support to those in need within their communities,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “The impact made by the Blue Jays and their Jays Care Foundation in critical issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic across Canada has been inspiring. All of us throughout baseball are proud of their contributions. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate the Toronto Blue Jays organization for this well-deserved recognition with their second Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence.”
“Despite not playing on Canadian soil this summer, our hearts remained in Canada – with those in our community that were experiencing urgent needs exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Mark Shapiro, President & CEO, Toronto Blue Jays. “Sport provides a tremendous opportunity for positive change. By turning challenges into opportunities this season, our fans, staff, players, alumni, and partners worked together to help thousands of Canadians when they needed us most. This holiday season, I hope this honour from Major League Baseball reminds Blue Jays fans of the collective power each of us has to help our neighbours and be a positive force for good.”
“In a year when Major League Baseball and all 30 teams contributed so much to their respective communities, we are extremely honoured to receive the Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence,” said Melinda Rogers-Hixon, Chair, Jays Care Foundation. “Though COVID-19 has impacted all Canadians, the pandemic has disproportionately affected those already facing significant barriers in their lives. We are very proud of how our organization came together, creating innovative solutions to support children and families in need across the country. On behalf of Jays Care Foundation and the Toronto Blue Jays, I want to thank Commissioner Manfred and Major League Baseball for this humbling recognition.”
The Blue Jays were selected by a distinguished panel who assessed the club’s ability to address or respond to an important community need or problem; produce desired community impact and outcomes; and the efforts that have had a significant impact in the community. The Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence, formerly known as the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence, was created in 2010 to recognize the charitable and philanthropic efforts of MLB Clubs. The Toronto Blue Jays won the award in 2012 for the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy, a series of initiatives that support young people by encouraging physical activity through baseball while also providing programs that offer important resources and help develop essential life skills.