The Toronto Blue Jays have made some bold moves this off season and though next year’s roster may look different, one thing that remains consistent for the 2013 Jays is their commitment to CSR business philanthropy initiatives. The official charity of the team is The Jays Care Foundation, which was established in 1992. Jays Care “has been empowering children and youth in need, inspiring them to make positive choices and helping them realize their dreams by providing access to programs that support physical activity, education, and life-skill development.”
One of the foundation’s major accomplishments is their grassroots work to promote amateur baseball across the country and they do this through programs like the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy. Programming includes baseball leagues in low-income neighbourhoods, the refurbishment of baseball fields and recreational centres and instructional clinics for kids through:
Super Camps where children 10-16 can take part in a three-day baseball camp.
Instructional clinics that offer “local baseball associations across Ontario the opportunity to host a Blue Jays Instructional Clinic for young players aged 8 to 14.”
Field of Dreams where Jays Care refurbishes baseball fields and since “2001 over a million dollars [has been] invested in 13 fields.”
Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston said “the creation of the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy, combined with the tremendous efforts of the Jays Care Foundation, has had a significant impact on the youth of the nation. We are very proud of this recognition and it speaks volumes to the efforts of many in our organization and our key partners, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, Baseball Canada and Little League Canada. Together we have truly made a positive impact in our communities across Canada.”
Commissioner Bud Selig has said, “The determination of the Blue Jays to provide thousands of children with the tools to succeed in baseball and in life has made a remarkable difference in not just Toronto but in many other communities as well, and Canadians should take great pride in their country’s Major League Baseball team.” He went on to “commend the Blue Jays and all of [the MLB] clubs for embracing the game’s essential social responsibilities and making a positive impact in their respective communities year after year.”
Team president and CEO Paul Beeston said the organization, as Canada’s only major-league team, made a decision several years ago to reach out to communities beyond Toronto. “The support we have received from all provinces has been overwhelming and it was imperative that our programs reflected that passion,” he said.
Congratulations to the Blue Jays organization and here’s hoping that the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence isn’t the only thing the team wins in 2013.