Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) today announced the first recipients of the joint “Healthy Relationships Community Grant” program. The equal distribution of $500,000 is going to ten (10) nonprofit organizations throughout the United States as the first of seven donation phases through 2021 (totaling $3 million). The focus areas for the organizations include support for survivors of domestic violence, mental health resiliency, and developing positive relationship skills with youth.
Organizations were encouraged to apply for funding to cover general operating expenses, allowing for flexibility to support the nonprofits’ greatest needs, or program support to benefit a specific initiative. The recipients are as follows:
(Nonprofit, Location, Focus Area, Direction of Funding)
House of Ruth, Pomona, CA, Survivors of Domestic Violence, General Operating Expenses
Houston Area Women’s Center, Houston, TX, Survivors of Domestic Violence, General Operating Expenses
International Medical Corps, Los Angeles, CA, Mental Health Resiliency, Suicide Prevention in Puerto Rico
Lutheran Settlement House, Philadelphia, PA, Survivors of Domestic Violence, Bilingual Domestic Violence Program
Sanctuary for Families, Inc., New York, NY, Survivors of Domestic Violence, General Operating Expenses
Texas Advocacy Project, Inc., Austin, TX, Relationship Skills, Teen Outreach Program
Homefront, Inc., Lawrenceville, NJ, Mental Health Resiliency, Program for Homeless Youth
Good+Foundation, Inc., New York, NY, Relationship Skills, Breaking the Cycle of Paternal Absence
Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Inc., Newburyport, MA, Survivors of Domestic Violence, Children’s Safety Project
YWCA of San Diego County, San Diego, CA, Survivors of Domestic Violence, Becky’s House Domestic Violence Program
“We are grateful for the opportunity to assist these extraordinary organizations doing critical work to support vulnerable communities, especially in this time of crisis,” said Melanie LeGrande, Vice President of Social Responsibility, Major League Baseball. “Our collective support will provide emergency financial assistance and a meaningful contribution to address their greatest needs, which includes strengthening service delivery related to increased incidence of domestic violence and self-harm during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Players remain committed to supporting and promoting healthy relationships, especially during these unprecedented times,” said Leonor Colon, Sr. Director International and Domestic Player Operations. “We are thankful to all the organizations and their staff who are committed to supporting survivors of domestic violence, promotion of mental wellness, and relationship skills. Congratulations to the organizations that have been awarded the first round of grants. Each of them is eminently deserving and a terrific example of what we can achieve together to improve the world around us.”
This overall initiative is a $3 million commitment to provide funding in 2020 and 2021 to organizations that support healthy relationships through programs designed to build and improve relationship skills of the next generation, strengthen and provide critical services to survivors of domestic violence, and improve mental health resiliency among vulnerable populations.
U.S.-based nonprofit and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can still apply for localized support at MLB.com/HealthyRelationships and MLBPLAYERS.com/HealthyRelationships throughout the year, with proposals reviewed on a quarterly grant cycle. Nonprofits and NGOs may apply for grants of up to $50,000 for general operating or programmatic funding for one or more of the following categories: Healthy Relationship Practices/Education, Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence, and/or Mental Health Resiliency. Grant applications will be evaluated quarterly based on assessment of the population served, organization strength, impact, partnerships, sustainability of the programs, and more. Additionally, MLB Club charities and Major League Players have been encouraged to apply for up to $25,000 as part of a gift matching component of the initiative, with grant evaluations based on documentation of direct funding and commitment to the issue.
This initiative is intended as a prevention strategy to empower the next generation to understand the components of a healthy relationship. Organizational efforts supported by grant funding may include public education, with a preference for youth populations, on the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships as it relates to interpersonal violence (e.g., intimate partner, family or teen dating). Examples of education efforts include creating, producing & distributing public service announcements with relevant content and call to action as well as conferences or events focusing on awareness. Funding can also go toward supporting existing, or introducing new, programming on how to break the cycle of violence.
Strengthening and providing services to survivors of domestic violence is of critical importance to this grant initiative. Efforts may include (a) capacity building in support of the organizational mission of the nonprofit or NGO; (b) mental health support; (c) professional and life skills workshops as well as additional education and materials to improve employee readiness and workplace development; or (d) advocacy efforts to reduce domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Efforts toward building and improving mental health resiliency for vulnerable populations may include providing greater access to (a) quality mental health services and wellness programs; (b) preventative programs designed to reduce suicide, suicidal ideations and self-harm; (c) training programs for mental health professionals; or (d) school or community-based interventions.
The joint donation for the “Healthy Relationships Community Grant” represents an ongoing commitment by MLB and the MLBPA to provide support to causes that assist vulnerable populations, which has historically included financial assistance toward disaster relief and recovery as well as human trafficking prevention.