AUSTIN, Texas -The Austin Chamber of Commerce announced Friday afternoon that the Round Rock Express were named the 2016 Austin Gives Generous Business Award winner in the Big Heart category. The organization claimed the award after being named a finalist for the last two years.
The Big Heart category highlights businesses with 27-100 employees. Austin Gives is a community program and an extension of the Austin Chamber that recognizes and encourages business philanthropy in the Austin area. The organization honors and celebrates businesses of all sizes who make giving back a part of their core model. Since the group's inception in 2011, more than 450 businesses have joined the network.
In 2016, alongside Ryan Sanders Baseball, the Express raised over $250,000 to build Jana's House, a home for orphaned girls at the Family Legacy Mission's Tree of Life Children's Village in Zambia. The home was built in honor of Jana Almendarez, the late wife of Express President Chris Almendarez. Jana passed away on May 14, 2016 after an 11-month battle with Stage IV Glioblastoma.
"It is always an honor to be recognized for the philanthropic work we do, but it carries even more importance to be honored by our own community," Express President Chris Almendarez said. "We are proud to call Central Texas home and to be able to give back to make this a better place to live and play."
Additionally, Express staff, players and coaches volunteered more than 1,000 hours of their time to countless organizations. Seven specialty jersey auctions throughout the season raised nearly $37,000 for various nonprofits. The RS3 Concessionaire fundraising program helped local organizations raise more than $600,000 for their respective companies. Express fans did their part as well, donating over 1,500 pounds of canned goods through the Strike Out Hunger campaign.
This is the fifth award the Express has received in recognition of the team's outstanding charitable efforts in 2016. At the Baseball Winter Meetings this past December, the team was named the Triple-A recipient of the Bob Freitas Award byBaseball America and received the John Henry Moss Community Service Award from Minor League Baseball. The organization was also named the National Sports Forum's OM Foundation Award winner as well as the United Way of Williamson County's Partner of the Year.
The Express open the 2017 season on Thursday, April 6 against the Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics affiliate). Single game tickets, season memberships, Flex Plans and Kids Club packages are on sale now. For more information on the Express, visitwww.RoundRockExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook,Instagram, Snapchat andTwitter!