Baseball season is right around the corner, but sports team philanthropy doesn’t take time off in the winter. We’ve covered the giving of a few different sports teams and players in the past, but today we turn our attention to one of Los Angeles’ hometown teams.
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The Dodgers Foundation (LADF) recently made news for its $25,000 grant to Teach for America-Los Angeles, which prompted us to wonder what other types of causes this baseball funder supports. Teach for America is a well-known and popular grantee among funders around the country, and the Los Angeles chapter was established in 1990. This particular Dodgers grant will be going towards teacher recruiting and training at Manual Arts High School.
LADF’s executive director, Nichol Whiteman, made the following statement:
LADF is pleased to help Teach for America–Los Angeles provide a pipeline of diverse, talented, and passionate teachers for Los Angeles schools with the greatest needs. By sponsoring TFA-LA’s work at Manual Arts High School, we are helping to recruit and retain innovative leaders in our classrooms and community and prepare more students for college access and success.
Overall, LADF focuses grantmaking on three topics: sports & recreation, education & literacy, and health & wellness.
The sports program supports organizations that “focus on inclusion, preservation and promotion of sports in communities and the use of sports to create leadership opportunities and character development, as well as healthy habits for youth. The specific focuses within the education grantmaking category are middle school engagement, college access, and college success. And the health program at LADF is all about funding that addresses the types of health challenges that prevent children from engaging in school or recreational activities.
One of the biggest programs here is called Dreamfields, which falls under the foundation’s Sports & Recreation pillar, and helps provide baseball and softball fields to help youth learn to play through city- or county-administered programs. As of last September, the foundation helped to complete 39 fields, and key partners in this effort are the LA84 Foundation, City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation, and Parks and the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. Another big effort of this foundation is the Retrieving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, which assists urban youth baseball programs for boys and girls between the ages of five and 18.
The foundation used to go by the name “Dodgers Dream Foundation, and it was founded in 1995 by the O’Malley Family to specifically serve Los Angeles residents. This makes it a great locally focused funders to know for nonprofits in the city.
Underserved youth are the target demographic of all LADF grantmaking, and the foundation raises funds through fan fundraisers, player contributions, fundraising events, and individual and corporate sponsorships. The foundation awarded over $1 million in grants to over 50 community organizations in Greater Los Angeles in 2014, and you can see a list of sample grantees on the foundations Who We Support page. Grants typically range between $500 and $15,000, and requests are accepted by mail and email. To learn more about the funding process, check out the Grant Guidelines page or reach out to the four-member staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-224-1412.