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Thursday, 17 August 2017 15:54

The Red Sox Fund Celebrates 15 Years Of Giving Back This Weekend, Capping Huge Charity Week At Fenway Park

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A Red Sox Foundation billboard hangs outside of Fenway Park in Boston. A Red Sox Foundation billboard hangs outside of Fenway Park in Boston. SNA Displays

The Red Sox Foundation has become one of the most influential sports team charities in the world.

The people of Boston have always taken great pride in taking care of their own.

Nothing says this more than what is taking place this week at Fenway Park.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, over $3.9 million was pledged and raised in the 16th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Telethon. Since 2002, nearly $45 million has been raised to fund research at the world renowned Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and help treat those families whose loved ones are putting up a fight against cancer.

The genesis of this remarkable and massive undertaking coincided with the purchase of the Red Sox by the John Henry group in 2002.

It was in that same year that John Henry and his partners made the Red Sox much more than just a baseball team with a mission of competing for a World Series every year. The Henry group (now known as the Fenway Sports Group) commissioned a panel of experts in charitable work to form a foundation to reach out into the Boston community to make a difference. Now, 15 years later, the Red Sox Foundation is considered one of the most influential and comprehensive charity arms of any sports team in the world.

That's something worthy of a commemoration.

This weekend, the Red Sox Foundation marks its 15th anniversary in ceremonies preceding the Red Sox-Yankees game on Saturday, August 19, highlighting those who have been helped by the foundation and its programs over the past decade and a half.   

“Since its creation, the Red Sox Foundation has helped support hundreds of charities across New England that every day put people on a path to success,” said Red Sox Foundation Chairman Tom Werner. “But beyond the millions that have been donated to these worthy organizations, are the vital programs that have been created by the foundation to improve and even save lives. I am most proud when I learn that a high school student has been dissuaded from dropping out because of the time and compassion that our Red Sox Scholars tutors have put in with them."

"And I have profound respect and admiration for the clinicians and personnel at the Home Base Program who are tasked with helping veterans assimilate back into civilian life, and pulling those who suffer from PTSD back from despair. The results have been real and tangible, and I look forward to building on all of the great work that has been achieved over these past 15 years.”

Making it all the sweeter this week is the success and excitement of the team on the field. Mookie Betts' two-run single in the ninth capped the team's amazing ninth walk-off win this year at Fenway. The Red Sox stand 69-51, heading into this weekend's series with the Yankees holding a 4.5 game lead atop the A.L. East.

As he was with the baseball operations side, John Henry was financially committed to the success of The Red Sox Foundation, providing the initial funding, along with Chairman Tom Werner, President/CEO Emeritus Larry Lucchino, and their partners. The initial investment has more than paid off, as the RSF has blossomed into the largest team charity in Major League Baseball, and in professional sports.

The Red Sox Foundation focuses its efforts in the areas of health, education, and youth sports, donating to 1,620 organizations since 2002, including its own self-operated programs (RBI, Red Sox Scholars, New England Service Scholarships).       

In addition to the work of the Red Sox Foundation, the club has helped other charities raise tens of millions over the past 15 years by donating over 60,000 autographed items, providing free use of the ballpark, and over 250,000 complimentary tickets for games, concerts, and special events. 

The majority of the Red Sox Foundation’s efforts are concentrated in the following areas: 

Education

The Red Sox Scholars Program, presented by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, provides $10,000 scholarships, tutoring, and mentoring for academically-talented middle school students from the Boston Public Schools. The program received the first-ever Major League Baseball award for philanthropic excellence in 2010. The Red Sox Scholars Program has served a total of 274 Boston Public School students since its creation in 2003, and has a 96.8 percent high school graduation rate and 91 percent college or vocational program graduation enrollment rate among participating students.  New England Service Scholarships of $1,000 for college are awarded to students who have engaged in community service from 170 public high schools in the five New England states outside of Massachusetts.

Health

 Since 2002, the Red Sox and Red Sox Foundation have helped raise over $135 million for cancer treatment and research for The Jimmy Fund, supporting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in its mission to provide treatment to children and adults with cancer while developing cures through cutting-edge research.  Created by Red Sox Foundation Chairman Tom Werner, Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital program, has helped over 11,000 veterans and their families suffering from the “invisible wounds of war,” such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The Red Sox Foundation has raised over $22 million for Home Base through the program’s largest fundraiser, the Run to Home Base, a 9K/5K charity race presented by New Balance   The Red Sox Foundation is the largest contributor to The Dimock Center, a comprehensive non-profit health and social services facility in Roxbury that is a regional leader in addressing opioid addiction.

Youth Sports

RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) introduces urban youth in Boston to baseball and softball, and uses the sport to promote healthy choices and valuable life skills. RBI serves more than 700 kids ages 9 to 18.  The Boston Area Church League brings more than 600 Boston children to baseball fields during the summer to play Saturday doubleheaders with pastors as coaches, police as umpires, and assistant district attorneys as volunteers.  Lindos Suenos takes American teens to the Dominican Republic each summer to play with their teenage counterparts at the Red Sox Academy. Before taking the field, the children build homes for local residents. The program was created in partnership with Charlene Engelhard in 2004.  The Red Sox Foundation provides the 317 Little League programs in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine with funding assistance as well as leadership and instructional skills training for coaches and administrators. 

A special Red Sox Report highlighting the Red Sox Foundation and the people whose lives have been changed by its programs and support will air on NESN at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. The half-hour 15th Anniversary special will re-air at 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 19, and again at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 22.    

The Red Sox and Red Sox Foundation are active throughout New England, as well as in Lee County, Florida, the team’s Spring Training home. The foundation operates out of Fenway Park with eight full time employees, the support of the Boston Red Sox, and thousands of volunteers. 

Mike Alongi

Mike is the Patriots Content Manager for CLNS Radio. He oversees all coverage of the New England Patriots and hosts the daily Patriots Newsfeed podcast. He also works the switchboard on the CLNS Radio Patriots Post Game Show.

Mike currently works as a sports writer at The Daily Item, and he formerly served as the Sports Editor of The Observer, the award winning college newspaper of Northern Essex Community College. 

Prior to his work at CLNS, Mike was a contributor to the Lowell Sun, where he covered high school, college, and professional sports.

Mike earned his associate degree in Journalism in May 2015 from Northern Essex Community College. He is currently attending Salem State University and will graduate in December 2017 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Follow him on Twitter @CLNS_alongi.