DENVER -- At a special brunch on a snowy Tuesday morning at Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies Charity Fund passed out more than $449,000 in grants supporting 20 different non-profit organizations.
But the brunch gatherings -- Tuesday's covered the final quarter of the 2013 calendar year -- are more than just an opportunity to hand out money, although the organizations appreciate that. The Rockies contributed $1.2 million in 2013, or $200,000 beyond their goal, to 35 different agencies in the Rocky Mountain Region. And the club wants to be as involved as possible in each of these groups' initiatives.
Representatives from each community organization were invited to the podium to speak about their programs, many that help the academic and social lives of at-risk youth, some that promote literacy, others that offer opportunities to underserved members of the community and some that offer sports programs. It's important for the Rockies to bring the representatives together, and in many cases the club's involvement promotes collaboration between the various groups.
"When people get an opportunity to share the work that they're doing with other folks in the community that are doing similar work, you realize there's a whole network of folks that are out there trying to make a difference and really trying to help youth and inner-city kids, low-income kids," said Jim Kellogg, the Rockies' vice president of community and retail operations. "We get them all together so that they can talk about best practices and forge new relationships that they may not have made otherwise.
"We've actually seen some agencies merge and start working together in collaboration. One agency might be providing one type of service, and they learn something about another agency that they can refer kids to or folks to, so it's always nice to see them working together. Ultimately, we're trying to save the youth of our community and make them productive citizens that want to go on to college and save the cycle of poverty that they've been born into."
Some of the organizations that were represented Tuesday include Special Olympics Colorado, the Gold Crown Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Weld County and Larimer County, Junior Achievent, and Families First. Each organization also received four tickets to a Rockies game.
The Rockies' Charity Fund raises money through its Rockies Charity Golf Tournament, Home Run for the Homeless, the Hal O'Leary Dinner (honoring the founder of the National Center for the Disabled, located in Winter Park, Colo.), and partnerships with men's organizations Denver Active 20-30 and Northern Colorado Active 20-30.
Rockies players also contribute to the fund. For example, pitcher Jorge De La Rosa has funded the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program for 25 baseball and 12 softball teams for the past two years.
Information on community programs and request guidelines, including the Colorado Rockies Charity Fund, is available in the Community section of Rockies.com.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.