Cougars Make History With "A Million Smiles Campaign"

First Minor League team to set a charity fundraising goal

By Kane County Cougars | March 26, 2018 1:28 PM ET

GENEVA, Ill. - The Kane County Cougars charitable arm, the Kane County Cougars Foundation, Inc. has launched a historic fundraising goal known as "A Million Smiles Campaign" for the upcoming 2018 season. Today's announcement makes the Cougars the first team in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) to set a charity fundraising goal.

This season, the Kane County Cougars Foundation, Inc. will work towards reaching a donation total of one million dollars, with each dollar donated providing a much needed smile for those in need. As the first campaign of its kind in the history of MiLB, President and CEO Pat O'Connor is excited to see the charitable work that the team will accomplish this season.

"I am very proud of the lengths which our Minor League Baseball teams go to give back to their local communities, as the Kane County Cougars have now publicly pledged to do at an extraordinary level. Should the Cougars reach this ambitious goal, they will certainly be one of the most charitable of Minor League Baseball's 160 teams and I commend them for their efforts."

As members of the Midwest League, the Cougars are building upon the tradition of giving back that has been a part of the League for the last 72 years. "I applaud the initiative being taken by the Kane County Cougars to commit to this extraordinary philanthropy," said Dick Nussbaum, President of the Midwest League. "It is consistent with the Midwest League's leadership in Minor League Baseball. Proceeds from each ticket sold to our four million fans each year ends up as a charitable contribution by our Clubs. The collective power of this giving is consistent with the generosity shown by those of us who live in the Midwest and the Cougars are taking this tradition of giving to another level." 

One way fans can help provide a million smiles includes purchasing 50/50 raffle tickets with proceeds benefitting various local charities including Mutual Ground, Northern Illinois Food Bank, BraveHearts for Kids and CASA Kane County. Additional opportunities to contribute include participation in the Pitch In for Charity promotion, benefiting Loaves and Fishes CARES, on fireworks nights, purchasing a Legacy Brick to be displayed at the main entrance of the ballpark, selecting the Kane County Cougars Foundation, Inc. as your favorite charity on AmazonSmiles as well as registering for the 7th Annual Cougars 5K on May 19 with proceeds benefiting Special Olympics Illinois.

"Kane County is proud to be represented by the Cougars as they embark on this awesome charitable campaign," said Chris Lauzen, Chairman of the Kane County Board. "The community has benefitted greatly from having a team that is passionate about reaching families beyond just the baseball field.

Additional charitable opportunities will be announced throughout the year including collection of donation items for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Movers for Mom® program, the annual Winter Coat Drive and the Es Divertido Ser Un Fan charitable jersey auction to benefit a local Hispanic organization.

"The City of Geneva could not ask for a better representative of what this town stands for than the Kane County Cougars," said Kevin Burns, Mayor of Geneva. "This incredible charitable initiative will benefit our community in so many positive ways. We look forward to seeing the impact the Cougars will make this season."

The 2018 season begins on Thursday, April 5 at 6:30 PM against the Clinton LumberKings. Follow the Cougars onFacebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on all charitable initiatives as well as tickets and promotions.

About the Kane County Cougars

The Cougars, Class-A Minor League affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, have been at the forefront of family-friendly entertainment since 1991. In 2015, the franchise became the first Class-A team in Minor League Baseball history to welcome 11 million fans through the gates. A total of 161 former Cougars have reached the Major Leagues including Miguel Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Kyle Schwarber.

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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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