ST. PETERSBURG -- Giving away money always makes people smile, so there were plenty of smiles at Tropicana Field on Tuesday afternoon when the Rays Baseball Foundation awarded $145,000 to three local non-profit organizations through the club's All-Star Grant.
Team president Matt Silverman served as the speaker as well as the person handing out the checks. On the receiving end were Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Suncoast, which received a $25,000 grant, while Girls Inc. and Devereux Kids each received grants of $60,000. Representatives for each of organization were on hand to accept their check Tuesday.
"The Rays are proud to fund and partner with each of these organizations who do so much to impact the lives of children and families throughout Tampa Bay," Silverman said. "In concert with the regional growth of the Rays organization, the Rays Baseball Foundation continues to expand its reach, making significant investments throughout the community."
Through grants and other contributions, the Rays Baseball Foundation has invested over $1.2 million in the region over the past two years.
The Rays Baseball Foundation focuses primarily on youth and education programs in the Tampa Bay region that make a measurable difference in the community. The Foundation's All-Star Grant selection process began in May with a candidate pool of nearly 40 community non-profit agencies. The All-Star Grant provides substantial monetary support to help each community organization fulfill their mission.
Key contributors to the foundation include Rays owners, sponsors, fans, employees and players. All Rays players currently signed to multi-year contracts contribute to the Rays Baseball Foundation and its programs. That group includes Carl Crawford, Akinori Iwamura, Evan Longoria, Pat Burrell, Carlos Pena, Willy Aybar, James Shields and Dan Wheeler. Collectively, these players will contribute more than $1 million over the length of their contracts.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.