OMAHA, Neb. -- It was a great year for the Omaha Storm Chasers
and the charities they serve through the club's charitable arm, the Home Run Foundation of Greater Omaha. A total of $479,898.96 was donated to area charities during the 2012 season in the form of cash, goods and services.
The largest single donation made by the Storm Chasers went to the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) "Hit the Books" Reading Program. Young readers in schools throughout the region received a total of 14,173 prize packs for meeting their reading goals during the 2011-12 school year, valued at nearly $100,000.
Among other charitable recipients were the Ronald McDonald House, which received a check for $17,720 -- an increase of 73.2 percent over 2011 -- for the in-game Hurl the Pearl promotion presented by McDonalds's and Nissan of Omaha and Omaha's Open Door Mission, which received $22,000 in canned food donations and tickets
"Our staff believes in the Omaha metro community, and they show that through their actions," said Martie Cordaro, Storm Chasers president and general manager. "Giving back and helping others is a major part of our day-to-day operation."
Werner Enterprises joined the Storm Chasers by donating $3,840 to PlaySmart, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help kids reach their academic and life potential through sports. For each of the 384 RBIs the team recorded at home games this season a $10 donation was made to the local chapter of PlaySmart.
Jersey auctions benefited the Autism Action Partnership, Nebraska Colon Cancer Research, Aflac's Children's Cancer Center and Nebraska Organ Recovery which raised an additional $17,795.
The Today's Dental Community Organization of the Night provided 73 local nonprofit groups with $57,000 in free advertising at Werner Park, including display booths with signage on the main concourse, on-field recognition and in-game radio appearances.
Players, staff members and mascots also got into the act, donating more than 1,150 hours of their time to local groups. Storm Chasers players, including the second annual Johnny Rosenblatt Community Service Award winner, Kurt Mertins, made a total of 129 appearances in the community to speak with kids and sign autographs in 2012.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.