The San Francisco Giants have done it again, sweeping the favored Detroit Tigers to win their second World Series in just three years. The Giants captivated fans with outstanding postseason play, but their tremendous talent and success aren’t the only reasons San Franciscans should take pride in their home team.
When they’re not busy winning division championships, or that little thing called the World Series, the San Francisco Giants also do a ton of good off the field. Here’s a rundown of just a few charities and causes the Giants support:
Since its formation in 1991, the Giants Community Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has donated more than $14 million to community efforts. The Fund supports a broad range of programs designed to assist Northern California children and their families, including programs for violence prevention, health, fitness and education and literacy.
The Giants Community Fund’s flagship program is Junior Giants, a free, non-competitive baseball program serving 20,000 5- to 18-year-old boys and girls. The program supports 85 baseball leagues in California, Nevada and Oregon, providing uniforms, equipment and training for coaches, and also donates tickets for selected games so kids can come watch their favorite players in action.
Created in 1994, Junior Giants teaches baseball fundamentals and also strives to develop four pillars of character: Confidence, Integrity, Leadership and Teamwork. The leagues are non-competitive and use pitching machines, placing a high emphasis on character and improvement rather than winning or losing.
Founded by pitcher Barry Zito in 2005, Strikeouts For Troops is a national non-profit that supports injured troops and their families. Zito began by donating $400 to the cause each time he pitched a strikeout, and has since raised more than $2 million with the help of more than 60 professional baseball players, fundraising events and donations from fans and corporations. Strikeouts For Troops helps with all immediate needs, from organizing and funding flights and lodging so families can travel to visit their injured loved ones to providing backpacks filled with personal care items for troops who arrive at hospitals with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
The organization also dedicates funds to PTSD research and treatment, morale building events, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, holiday gifts for military children, and even transportation and babysitting programs to make family visits possible. Strikeouts For Troops frequently introduces additional new programs and activities to raise money and help give injured troops and military families the comforts of home.
Not to be outdone, the Giants players’ wives also raise funds and awareness for children’s issues. The wives have raised more than $150,000 since 2000, with most of the money benefiting Bay Area children’s programs and hospitals. The majority of the wives’ fundraising is conducted through live and online auctions of Giant’s memorabilia and experiences, including autographed equipment and lunches with players.
In addition to the team’s community contributions, many individual Giants players have used their paychecks for good. In 2011 closer Brian Wilson created the Michael Wilson Scholarship Fund in his father’s memory. Wilson’s donation – the largest by an individual donor in the Air Force Association scholarship fund’s 65-year history – will endow two scholarships for Air Force ROTC cadets. Former Giant Barry Bonds generously volunteered to personally finance college educations for the grade-school son and daughter of Bryan Stow, the Giants fan who was brutally beaten at Dodger Stadium. Several current Giants have also shown their support for Stow and his family, including paying visits to his hospital room, and pitcher Tim Lincecum made a personal $25,000 donation to the Stow family fund.
Congratulations to the 2012 World Series Champions for their hard work and impressive results, both on and off the field!