Arizona Diamondbacks Give Back By Tyler Drake

The Arizona Diamondbacks are known for their play on the field, but off the field the team contributes mightily to the community.
Over the last ten years, Arizona has donated on average $5-$6 million to non-profit organizations, according to D-backs senior vice president of content and communications Josh Rawitch said.
The three areas the D-backs mainly help out include homelessness, indigent healthcare and kid’s events/programs, but the team tries to be as inclusive as possible to all non-profit organizations, Rawitch added.

On January 19, 2017, top D-backs prospects made their way to the MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Boys and Girls Club in Phoenix.
“We look for the type of player who shows good character and is a team player,” Rawitch said. “On the first day of spring training, Derrick (Hall, president and CEO of Arizona) gets up and says how important it is to give back to the community.”
During their visit, the players not only played numerous games with the kids, but also helped with homework.
“We love giving back to the community, especially the Boys and Girls Clubs and anybody that’s in need of a smile,” D-backs No. 2 prospect Anthony Banda said.
D-backs No. 15 prospect Matt Koch was determined not to lose another point in table tennis.
While the relentless defense was too much for D-backs prospect Ildemaro Vargas.
When the team isn’t having events for the kids, they can also be found helping out other areas of the community.
On February 28, 2017, the Ability360 Sports and Fitness Center unveiled its newly renovated aquatics center with the team.
Ability360 is a center that provides fitness, health and recreation programs to people who have disabilities and their families.
D. Baxter the Bobcat cuts the ribbon to officially open the newly renovated aquatics center at Ability360 in Phoenix.
“It was an amazing surprise that night when we were one of 10 (charitable organizations) to get $100,000,” president and CEO of Ability360 Phil Pangrazio said. “We really appreciate the support, because the pools are a big part of what we do here. It serves a lot of our community.”
Through the Ken Kendrick Grand Slam Awards program, the facility was given a donation that helped in upgrading multiple areas of the aquatic center including an updated pool and hydraulic lifts.
“What makes us most excited is when we find those unique projects that are so special to the community,” Debbie Castaldo, vice president of corporate and community impact for the Diamondbacks said. “You know they’re going to transform lives.”
“They welcome their entire community, it’s not just those who are going through therapy or disabilities; it’s the able-bodied community as well. It’s a truly inclusive environment.” Castaldo added. “This pool is going to last for 10, 15, 20 years so for only $100,000 to make that big of a difference and have a project that will live on like that is an unbelievably wise investment and the right thing to do.”
Fans like Brayden Dailey, who is visually impaired, can experience the team up close and personal during these kinds of events. Here he is interacting with D. Baxter the Bobcat.
“We are giving everyone the opportunity to be active and in a safe environment and doing things the correct way, whether it be aquatics or in the weight room,” D-backs organist Bobby Freeman said.
“They welcome their entire community, it’s not just those who are going through therapy or disabilities; it’s the able-bodied community as well. It’s a truly inclusive environment.” Castaldo added. “This pool is going to mean a lot to the local community.”
After reaching the $50 million mark for charitable giving, the D-backs have no sign of slowing down.
“The team gives back more every year than the other (professional) Arizona teams combined,” Rawitch said. “And our charitable giving is usually in the top-3 in MLB each year.”

Credits:

Tyler Drake/Cronkite News

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