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MLB.com

08/05/2005
Toronto youth organizations to benefit from Baseball Tomorrow Fund grant
Grant provided as part of National Youth Baseball Equipment Collection Program

In support of the ongoing commitment from Major League Baseball, its Clubs and the players to increase opportunities for youth participation in baseball and softball, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund is awarding a grant for $5,000 to Toronto Community Housing for Rookie League Baseball. The grant is being awarded in conjunction with the national baseball equipment collection program supported by the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. As part of the equipment collection program, the Toronto Blue Jays hosted an equipment drive on April 9 and 10 that collected gloves to benefit the Toronto-area Rookie League Baseball.

Vernon Wells, Toronto Blue Jays Centerfielder and Honorary Commissioner of Rookie League since 2002, will present a check for $5,000 to representatives from the Toronto Community Housing and Rookie League Baseball on behalf of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund during a pre-game ceremony at Rogers Centre Skydome on Wednesday, August 10th prior to the Blue Jays game against the Detroit Tigers at 7:07 pm (EDT).

This marks the first year the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has teamed with Major League Baseball Clubs to augment their existing equipment collection programs and to help facilitate the creation of new programs. As part of the program, participating Clubs collect new and used equipment at their ballparks prior to a selected home game(s) and donate the equipment to a local youth baseball or softball organization chosen by the Club. In support of the initiative, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund awards a total of $5,000 to youth baseball or softball organizations in each participating market. Baseball Tomorrow Fund grants will be used to purchase new equipment for the 2006 season.

Since the inception of Rookie League Baseball in 1989, the program has grown from eight to twenty teams and provided a positive experience to thousands of area kids. The boys and girls involved with Rookie League Baseball learn valuable life lessons about healthy living, teamwork and commitment through weekly baseball tournaments running during summers, annually.

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund donation of $5,000 to Toronto Community Housing will be used towards the purchase of new equipment that will benefit more than 400 Rookie League participants. Rookie League Baseball provides a summer of baseball fun to more than 400 children between the ages of 8 to 14 from Toronto Community Housing units across the city annually. The donated equipment and grant was arranged through Toronto Community Housing, the largest social housing provider in Canada.

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund, created to promote and enhance the growth of baseball throughout the world, provides funding for programs, field improvements and equipment purchases that encourage and maintain youth participation in baseball and softball. Since its inception in 1999, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has awarded grants totaling more than $8.5 million. These grants have benefited more than 100,000 children participating in more than 170 youth baseball and softball programs across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands and Europe.

For more information about Baseball Tomorrow Fund visit: www.baseballtomorrowfund.com.