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Twins have team-wide commitment to charity

Mauer, Gibson, Perkins among players dedicated to community involvement
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins make a strong effort to give back to the community every year, and 2017 was no different, as Minnesota led several successful charity initiatives, especially through the Twins Community Fund.

The Twins Community Fund, celebrating its 26th year, 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 Twins players.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins make a strong effort to give back to the community every year, and 2017 was no different, as Minnesota led several successful charity initiatives, especially through the Twins Community Fund.

The Twins Community Fund, celebrating its 26th year, 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 Twins players.

One of the biggest charity initiatives of the season came during their annual Hope Week, which was held from May 15-21. Several players took part, including Byron Buxton, Joe Mauer, Chris Gimenez, Glen Perkins and Brian Dozier.

Mauer was one of several players to visit to Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare that week. Mauer's wife, Maddie, previously worked at the health care center, and the couple created the "Mauer and Friends Kids Classic," which was held for a second straight year at Target Field in June to support Gillette Children's Hospital.

The event drew NHL players such as Zach Parise, Ryan McDonagh and Paul Martin, NFL players such as Kyle Rudolph, Michael Floyd and Chad Greenway as well as some of Mauer's former teammates, including Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie. For his efforts, Mauer was named the club's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his charity efforts for the second straight season.

"That's a very significant award and honor in our game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said in early September. "For someone to receive that is symbolic of a man, more than a player, who goes above and beyond and tries to serve in various capacities. To be recognized for the things he does is not what Joe wants, but it's very fitting that he's our candidate this year."

Molitor, who lives in Minnesota during the offseason, also stays active in the community once the season ends, supporting charities such as the Salvation Army, Starkey Hearing Foundation, Camp Heartland and Friends of St. Paul Baseball.

Perkins, a Minnesota native like Mauer and Molitor, hosted his annual fishing event as part of Hope Week and also hosted the sixth annual Fifteen's 5K race on Aug. 6 to raise money for mental health with the proceeds going to the PrairieCare Child & Family Fund.

Tweet from @Twins: .@glenperkins hosted today's #MNTwins Hope Week event at Lake Harriet. Players (& T.C.) taught fishing skills to youth from @HopeKidsMN! 🎣 pic.twitter.com/DsYEFYAjGl

Right-hander Kyle Gibson is also one of the most active players in the community, and he was named the winner of the team's Carl R. Pohlad Community Service Award. Gibson, who will be honored at the Diamond Awards in January, created a fantasy football league called "Big League Impact Minnesota" that pits sponsors and celebrities against each other to raise money for charity. He has generated more than $40,000 for the Twins Community Fund and other charities in both Minnesota and Florida. Gibson also established a community ticket program that provides Twins tickets to Christian and inner-city youth groups.

Twins players, led by Dozier, also raised more than $50,000 for Hurricane Harvey victims in Houston, while the Twins partnered with the Red Sox to donate $200,000 to Hurricane Irma relief efforts in Southwest Florida. The Twins also had several Puerto Ricans on their roster, including Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario and Kennys Vargas, and worked with La Coalición de Boricuas en Minnesota to assist in relief for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

With the holiday season fast approaching, the Twins will ramp up their efforts, especially among those in the front office. The team will host its annual Twins Holiday Week of Giving, which is similar to Hope Week with different charity events each day. The event has helped organizations in the past such as the Kids in Need Foundation, the Humane Society, The Food Group, Cookie Cart and the Harbor Light Center.

It all leads up to TwinsFest, the Diamond Awards and the Twins Winter Caravan throughout the Upper Midwest in January. TwinsFest remains the largest fundraising arm of the Twins Community Fund.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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