MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins and Major League Baseball announced Wednesday they are creating the first "All-Star Fans Choose" grant initiative, which will give $500,000 to a nonprofit organization in the Upper Midwest for a capital project to benefit its community.
Nonprofit groups in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin may apply at AllStarGame.com/FansChoose starting Wednesday through May 23.
Five finalists will be determined by a panel of judges consisting of representatives from MLB before the fans can vote for their favorite project at AllStarGame.com from June 10 to July 10. The judges will determine the final five 501(c)(3) nonprofit projects based on the following criteria: impact on community, scope, timeline, environmental improvement and sustainable design, and quality of application.
The winning nonprofit and capital project will be announced during MLB All-Star Week in July.
"The Minnesota Twins, the Twins Community Fund and the Pohlad Family Foundation are thrilled to have this unique opportunity to partner with Major League Baseball to ensure the 2014 All-Star Summer leaves a lasting legacy across Twins Territory," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "The Fans Choose program, coupled with the overall All-Star Summer Legacy Giving plan, will help positively impact the lives of so many great people. It's certain to be a highlight of what promises to be a very special All-Star summer."
The program is the first of its kind, and will be one of several community outreach projects leading up to the All-Star Game, which will be played at Target Field on July 15. In recent years, the Midsummer Classic has annually brought roughly $5 million to local charities.
"The All-Star Fans Choose grant initiative is one of the most unique community efforts that Major League Baseball has ever put in place for the Midsummer Classic," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "This program will be an important element of our All-Star summer efforts and will help us leave a lasting legacy in the communities of the Twin Cities. We are happy to join the entire Twins organization and the Pohlad family in order to make a significant impact on a worthy nonprofit organization."
MLB All-Star Week at Target Field includes the 85th MLB All-Star Game on July 15; Gatorade All-Star Workout Day featuring the Home Run Derby on July 14; Taco Bell All-Star Sunday, including the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game on July 13; and T-Mobile All Star FanFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center from July 11-15.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.