PEORIA, IL - The Peoria Chiefs had a great 2018 season on the field, making the Midwest League Championship Series for the first time in 16 years, but the organization had an even better year with their charitable works and community service. As they prepare for 2019, the Chiefs have released their 2018 charitable totals both for the Central Illinois community and nationwide.
The main fundraisers for non-profit organizations who work with the Chiefs in 2018 were seven game-worn jersey auctions and numerous post-game Pitch-In For Charity tennis ball tosses. For the first time the team used an online auction site for the jersey auctions and the seven nights combined to raise $30,331 for various non-profit organizations. The Pitch-In For Charity events are held on every Fireworks night and other select Thursday - Sunday games. In 2018 those events raised $27,275 for various organizations and charities. Non-profits from Central Illinois also earned $14,443 working in Dozer Park concession stands.
The Chiefs use tickets as fundraisers for a variety of local organizations, schools and youth sports teams. Tickets are prizes for Homer's Reading Program, the United Way's Success by Six program with PNC and DARE Day. Fundraisers brought in $38,942 for Central Illinois organizations in 2018 while prizes for all the programs tallied $82,837.
The organization made multiple forms of donations in 2018 both in-season and during the off-season. Among those are on-field result-oriented donations with the Chiefs and RLI partnering to donate $6010 to the RBI for Kids program ($10 per RBI), $2,375 to the Children's Hospital of Illinois ($25 per home run), and $2000 to Easter Seals with West Bend on double plays ($25 per double play). The Chiefs donated $52,274 worth of tickets, suites, auction items, memorabilia and facility donations to nearly 1,000 different organizations, programs, fundraisers, benefits and silent auctions both in Central Illinois and nationwide. A mystery ball auction also raised $1,172 for the Chiefs scholarship fund through the Community Foundation.
All told the Chiefs donated or raised $260,609 worth of tickets, product, memorabilia, items or donated money throughout 2018. The $206,285 of in-stadium fundraising was the 3rd most reported total of the 16-team Midwest League. Also the MWL ranked as the highest fundraising league in MiLB for 2018 as the 16 teams combined to contribute more money back into their local communities than any of the other 13 MiLB leagues, including the two Triple-A leagues.
Chiefs staff, Homer the team mascot, players and coaches also donated their time to participate in numerous community service events. These events were held throughout Central Illinois or in participation with MiLB initiatives (BairFind, Joe Torre Safe at Home, Sun Safety Initiative with ACS). Among the numerous organizations the Chiefs staff and players worked with in 2018 were: Children's Hospital of Illinois, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts of America, Girls Scouts, Crittenton Center, Special Olympics, ALS Association, St. Jude's, Pediatric Resource Center, Illinois Cancer Care, Peoria Park District, the Peoria Zoo, Senior World, and many more. Homer, players and staff members also made numerous appearances at Central Illinois schools, youth sports organizations and libraries to interact with our future fans. Staff members also donated their personal time throughout 2018 to work with Friendship House, Peoria Rotary, HOI Harvest, IHSA and St Joe's Catholic School in Pekin among others.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.