The River Cats Foundation:
Pitching in to help others.
Since the River Cats opened their inaugural season in Sacramento in 2000, their involvement in the community has been an important priority. The management and employees of the River Cats have focused their efforts on family and youth-based activities in the greater Sacramento area and have spent countless hours in the community at schools, non-profit organizations and civic clubs. All members of the various River Cats operations are keenly aware of their responsibilities to give back to the community via donations of time and available funds.
The River Cats Foundation is one program chosen by River Cats ownership and management to accomplish those goals. Any non-profit organization that has a demonstrable record of supporting family and youth-based activities for a minimum of two years can apply for financial grants through the River Cats Foundation, Inc. Since its inception, the River Cats Foundation has distributed in excess of $1.7 million to many qualifying organizations including: River Cats Independence Field, Frances and Chuck Collings West Sacramento Teen Center, Optimist Club, Late Night North Highlands, Sacramento Food Bank, California Musical Theatre/Music Circus, Communicare Health Services, various Boys and Girls Clubs, Developmental Disability Services, Disabled Sports USA, Girl Scouts, Sacramento Public Library Foundation, Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, WAVE Camp for Disabled Youth, Children's Receiving Home of Sacramento, First Tee Golf, Special Olympics, Sutter Health Foundation and Crocker Art Museum and many others. In general, the organizations benefiting from the River Cats Foundation work to further execute the Foundation's goals of assisting and supporting the needs of children, youth and families. Over ninety-eight percent (98%) of support received by the River Cats Foundation goes directly to the many organizations it has supported.
As part of the 2005 Triple A ("AAA") All Star Game, the River Cats Foundation and the operations of the River Cats at Raley Field joined in to support River Cats Independence Field as the legacy project of the All Star Game. The River Cats Foundation, along with the River Cats contributed in cash and goods and services over $250,000 to River Cats Independence Field. River Cats Independence Field is a baseball diamond in South Sacramento resurfaced with a custom rubberized turf which is the same material used for the track and field surfaces in the Paralympics. This special field includes dugouts, restrooms and drinking fountains all redesigned to match accessibility standards for individuals with disabilities. Able-bodied children will participate as volunteers and will be paired with challenged children as "buddies" who assist them in batting, catching, throwing and running. Many of these buddies are at risk youth who are in need of experiencing how they can make powerful and positive differences in the lives of others. Numerous individuals have annually taken advantage of the amenities of River Cats Independence Field which officially opened on October 9, 2005. Groups from as far away as Washington, DC have enjoyed the field.
In conjunction with the River Cats Foundation, the River Cats Community Relations department is actively involved on a year-round basis in reaching out to schools and numerous community groups by making appearances and giving speeches at school assemblies, civic groups and various facilities in the greater Sacramento area. One of the most popular programs of the Community Relations program is the Triple A assemblies: academics, attitude and attendance. The program involves focus on mathematics and baseball statistics, consistent attendance at school and a positive, can-do attitude about life, family and society. The program is active over 250 days every year with school visits and assemblies, career days, parades, banquets, clinics and more. Over 50,000 students have participated in educational field trips to Raley Field and over 2.0 million students have attended a Triple A assembly at more than 225 area public and private schools. In addition, numerous non-profit groups benefit from Raley Field by working in the concessionaire program to raise funds for their organizations. Each year, many organizations receive auction items from the River Cats to assist them in their own fund raising efforts. The Community Relations program is also actively engaged in supporting numerous youth programs in the area with the annual value of goods and services returned to the greater Sacramento area exceeding $1 million. The River Cats also produce an annual Art of Baseball calendar using drawings from students at area grade, middle and high schools.
Because of the River Cats, the River Cats Foundation and the River Cats Community Relations efforts, the quality of life for many in the greater Sacramento area has been improved and the Rivers Cats are committed to making further progress in the community.
Those organizations interested in finding out more about the River Cats' Community Relations programs and/or the River Cats Foundation should visit the team's internet site at www.rivercats.com and click on the Community Affairs link. Included on the website are specific guidelines about requesting support from the Foundation and/or making donations to the Foundation.