This past season many of us were cheering for our favorite team hoping they would become World Champions. This year the Chicago Cubs took home the title but the MLB as an organization is world class. As perhaps the most hallowed of the major sports leagues in the United States, it’s no surprise that Major League Baseball (MLB) has extensive roots within communities all over the country. It would naturally follow, then, that the league is also involved in a vast number of philanthropic and charitable efforts aimed at improving the lives and welfare of the individuals in those communities.
The MLB undoubtedly takes its philanthropic cue from longtime commissioner Bud Selig. Selig is easily the most decorated commissioner among those in the “big four” American sports leagues, receiving numerous honors for his charitable work. At least 10 different organizations have recognized the work Selig has done to improve the lives of those inside and outside the game of baseball. In 2010, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which aids academically distinguished minority students, presented him its Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Taylor Hooton Foundation bestowed its inaugural Taylor’s Award to Selig for his impact on educating American youth on the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. Among other honors, he has been recognized for his work in the fight against cancer, his advocacy for environmental issues, and his work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The MLB conducts most of it work through Major League Baseball Charities, a not-for-profit corporation that provides support to local, national and international tax- exempt organizations to directly conduct or sponsor activities for the promotion of good health, physical education, public safety, medical research, literacy, educational or charitable purposes. Selig’s office pays all administrative expenses for MLB Charities.
On top of MLB Charities, the MLB supports numerous other renowned, high-impact charitable causes. Some of its other major charitable campaigns surround Autism Awareness, anti-drug movements, Mother’s Day (promoting the fight against breast cancer), Father’s Day (promoting the fight against prostate cancer), and Welcome Back Veterans (remembering the first responders and others who lost their lives in the attacks of September 11th, 2001).
Through its combined efforts, Major League Baseball has raised over $131 million in funds for the charities. Teams from the American League and National League have contributed over $65 million apiece towards professional baseball’s causes. The Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals are among the two most charitable organizations, when it comes to the funds raised through charitable efforts in comparison to team payrolls.