Throughout the season, the Foundation raises funds through the sale of 50/50 raffle tickets, sponsored by Country Financial representative Bret Brizzolara. Proceeds go towards several community-centered causes. In 2018, the monthly charities included Mutual Ground, CASA Kane County, Northern Illinois Food Bank and BraveHearts for Kids.
The Kane County Cougars are dedicated to creating a legacy of caring, where together we can make Kane County and the surrounding communities a better place to live and work. The Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation is committed to showing everyone that baseball can be more than just a game; it can be a game changer for people and their communities.
The Foundation combined with Acres Group for the Pitch In for Charity promotion in 2018. Fans purchase numbered tennis balls and attempt to land them on an on-field target following select Cougars games. This season, a portion of the proceeds was donated to Loaves and Fishes CARES.
There's nothing more dramatic than when a Cougars player hits a home run! For every home run hit by the Cougars at Northwestern Medicine Field, Paramount Fence will make a $50 donation to Emmanuel House in Aurora, which is matched by the Foundation.
In the fall of 2014, the Cougars unveiled a commemorative legacy brick program as fans could purchase a custom brick etched with a special message along with their name, the name of a family member, or friend. The Cougars Legacy Brick Program is the focal point of the ballpark's main entrance with the bricks permanently displayed outside Northwestern Medicine Field. A portion of the proceeds is donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
In honor of Alfred "Al" E Mueller, the Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation and Mueller: Certified Public Accountants have teamed up to reward five local accounting college students working to further their education. Mr. Mueller left a lasting legacy for his employees and local community through his civic and philanthropic endeavors which live on with this scholarship.
In conjunction with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, the Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation makes a monetary donation to three local organizations based on the pillars that the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation were built on - homelessness, indigent healthcare and children's programs. The organizations for the 2018 season were Kane Excellence in Education Partnership (KEEP), Bridge Communities in Glen Ellyn and Pillars Community Health.
The Ozzie & Annie Reading Scholars scholarships were established by the Foundation during the 2018 season in conjunction with the Cougars Reading Club. The purpose of the scholarships is to award current Cougars Reading Club members for the lasting impact their involvement with the program has formed in their lives. A total of six scholarships are awarded with two winners selected for each grade level: K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.
The 2018 Cougars 5K: Honoring Special Olympics was held in May. More than 400 participants took part in the race, which ends at home plate inside Northwestern Medicine Field, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the programs of Special Olympics Illinois.
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The Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation was selected as a grant recipient from Highland Capital Management, located in Dallas, Texas. The grant, designated to the Cougars through the Highland Salutes program, was donated to Operation Support Our Troops and Salute, Inc. which support both active duty military and veterans.
In partnership with Minor League Baseball's Copa de la Diversión fan engagement campaign, the Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation made a donation to Centro de Información, a local organization that empowers Hispanics to effectively integrate into the community as well as Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl, a local Mexican folk dance troupe.
The Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation provides 100 turkeys to the Tri-City Salvation Army for distribution to families in need prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Cougars staff members volunteer their time to assist with the distribution of the turkeys while Ozzie and Annie visit with the families.
In partnership with Alliant Credit Union, the Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation presented Ladder Up with a charitable donation. Ladder Up provides hardworking people the with financial resources and opportunities they need to move up the economic ladder through complimentary financial programs including their Tax Assistance Program which helps clients secure the tax refunds they deserve.
The official craft beer of the Cougars organization donates $1 to the Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation for every sale of 108 Double Stitch Ale at their headquarters in Ottawa, Illinois.
The Cougars Reading Club included 126,000 students from over 420 schools who improved their reading skills in 2018. Regarded as one of the most successful and rewarding reading incentive programs in the Chicagoland area, the Cougars Reading Club allows teachers and reading specialists to set goals for students at different grade levels. Students receive rewards for reading a specified number of books or pages, with prizes awarded as they read their way to first base, second base, third base and finally to home plate. Students who hit a reading home run receive a ticket to a Cougars game, food voucher and a Cougars drawstring bag. Graduates are also recognized in a pre-game parade on the field.
Community libraries in Geneva and surrounding towns take part in the summer reading program, which rewards children with tickets for their summer reading accomplishments.
The Cougars host a Military Appreciation Night each season which includes complimentary tickets for servicemen and servicewomen along with their families, a large American flag unfurling on the field and presence by numerous military groups such as the Illinois National Guard and Operation Support Our Troops. The Cougars also hold a partnership with the Veteran Tickets Foundation in which the Cougars organization donates 20 tickets for each game from Memorial Day weekend through the end of the season. Active military and their families receive complimentary admission at all games throughout the season.
The Cougars are proud to offer half-price tickets to senior citizens for all Tuesday games as well as complimentary food vouchers for all day games, excluding weekends and holidays. The Cougars are thankful for the support of all our fans, including Senior Citizens and look forward to their continued patronage for years to come.
Each season, the Cougars accept donations of cold weather gear including coats, hats, gloves and scarves to provide for those in need. The donations are provided to local shelters, including the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans and Mutual Ground, during the winter months.
In partnership with Two Men and a Truck, the Cougars collect donations of essential care items including shampoo, body wash, deodorant, etc. The donations are provided to moms who are living at local homeless and domestic violence shelters prior to Mother's Day.
In 2019, the Huntington Helping Hand grant was provided to the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago which is dedicated to empowering women and eliminating racism by providing support to all women along various stages of their journeys. Additional funds were also provided to local mental health and deaf awareness organizations.
In an effort to strikeout the mental health stigma, the Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation teamed up with local organizations to provide information and resources for those in need during the inaugural Mental Health Awareness Night on May 10. In addition, a donation was made for each strikeout recorded by a Cougars pitcher during the game with funds provided to TriCity Family Services, National Alliance on Mental Health Illness (NAMI) of DuPage and Kane County as well as Suicide Prevention Services of America.
The inaugural Deaf Awareness Night was held on September 1 as the Cougars teamed up with local organizations to recognize the deaf and hard of hearing. In addition, for every strikeout recorded by a Cougars pitcher during the game, the Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation made a donation to Geneva Hearing Services, Hear the Cheers, Northwestern Illinois Association and A Child's Voice.
Throughout the course of the 2019 season, the Cougars made miscellaneous cash donations to a number of individual organizations totaling over $3000. These organizations included the Geneva Park District, Waubonsee Community College and the Auxilliary Board of Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage and Delnor Hospitals.
The Cougars also assist non-profit organizations including churches, schools, outing groups and others with charitable donations for fundraising events. Donations included ticket vouchers, memorabilia and gift certificates totaling over $980,000.
A new initiative beginning in 2020 is the Ozzie and Annie Classroom Appreciation 1K Grant. This program will award one teacher's classroom with a $1,000 grant to show appreciation for their participation in the Cougars Reading Club. Cougars mascots and goodwill ambassadors, Ozzie and Annie T. Cougar, will present the check to the winning teacher and their classroom.