Rays Baseball foundation awards $100,000 to local nonprofits

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- On Thursday, September 4, the Rays Baseball Foundation, the official charity of the Tampa Bay Rays, awarded a total of $100,000 to 19 local nonprofit organizations through the second cycle of the 2014 Community Fund Grant Program.

The nonprofit grant recipients were recognized during a welcome reception and a pregame ceremony at Tropicana Field. Guests had a chance to network with other charities and also participated in an on-field check presentation ceremony with Rays relief pitchers Grant Balfour and Joel Peralta.

Balfour and Peralta are among eight Rays players who contribute to the Rays Baseball Foundation annually. That list also includes David DeJesus, Ryan Hanigan, James Loney, Evan Longoria, Jose Molina and Ben Zobrist.

The Rays Community Fund Grant Program provides assistance to local nonprofits in the Tampa Bay region. Grants averaging $5,000 are awarded to help support and enhance current programs offered by community-based nonprofit organizations. To date, the Community Fund Grant Program has awarded more than 188 grants to local charities totaling $972,500.

This is the second round of grants from the 2014 Community Fund Grant Program. The two grant cycles this year donated a combined $200,000 in grants. The 2015 Community Fund Grant will open in Spring 2015. Applications for those grants will be available at raysbaseball.com/community

The following organizations and their programs received support from the Rays 2014 Community Fund Grant Program:

Organization (Program)

A Brighter Community, Inc. (Classroom Renovations)

AMIkids Pinellas (Center for Personal Growth)

Best Buddies Tampa Bay (Middle and High School Project)

Connected by 25 Hillsborough (Connection with Education & Employment)

Cornerstone Kids, Inc. (Read to Success with KidzLit)

Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County, Inc. (Every Child a Reader)

ECHO of Brandon, Inc. (Nutrition for Kids)

Florida Sheriff Youth Ranches, Inc. (After School Tutoring)

Gorilla Theatre, Inc. (High School Playwriting)

Great Explorations Children's Museum (Great Connections)

Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee, Inc. (Yummy, Healthy Snacks for Kids)

PACE Center for Girls, Inc. (Getting Girls to School Project)

Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg (After School Scholarships)

Science Center of Pinellas County, Inc. (Winter Camp Scholarships)

South County Family YMCA, Inc. (Children and Family Scholarship Fund)

St. Petersburg College Foundation, Inc. (First Generation Scholarship Initiative)

St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Inc. (Pack A Snack 4 Kids)

The Cypress Initiative, Inc. (Spark Inside Mentoring Program)

Wheels of Success (Wheels to the Future)