Dodgers Foundation Named 2020 Play Champion

Howard Cole

Via Los Angeles Dodgers PR:

Los Angeles - The Aspen Institute’s Project Play announced Tuesday that it has named the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) as a 2020 Project Play Champion. The Aspen Institute’s Project Play Champions program annually recognizes local and national organizations that are taking new, meaningful, and specific actions consistent with the Project Play framework. LADF is recognized for its Field Champions initiative and Dodgers RBI program, a sports-based youth development program for kids, which utilizes baseball and softball participation to provide life-changing social and emotional learning and access to health care and educational opportunities.

An initiative of the Aspen Institute, Project Play aims to help stakeholders build healthy communities through sport. Among its sub-initiatives is Project Play 2020, a multi-year effort by leading organizations to grow national sport participation rates and related metrics among youth. As part of the recognition, LADF will be featured at the Project Play Summit 2020, the nation's premier annual gathering of leaders at the intersection of youth, sport and health.

“The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, a leader in sports-based youth development, recognizes the importance of ensuring that low income communities not only have access to softball and baseball, but to a supportive environment of coaches and resources. We’re proud to highlight them as a 2020 Project Play Champion and an exemplar organization working to engage kids through community-based play,” said Tom Farrey, Executive Director for the Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society Program.

In 2020, in partnership with Up2Us Sports, LADF has doubled its Field Champions program and trains community members to serve as LADF ambassadors, mentors, and coaches who help Dodgers RBI coaches and participants learn sports techniques, nutrition, injury prevention, and life skills.

“We are honored to be recognized in the 2020 class of Project Play Champions. Alongside Up2Us Sports, we have expanded our Field Champions program, and provide a well-balanced foundation for coaches to gain game knowledge and important strategies that offer powerful support to Dodgers RBI players,” said Nichol Whiteman, LADF Chief Executive Officer. “Field Champions attend skill-based coaching workshops, that include trauma-informed approaches and positive youth development strategies, to support players and help them grow social-emotional learning attributes. Our coaches play a critical role in helping youth in our communities heal and thrive.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dodgers RBI and Field Champions have made the necessary pivot to support thousands of participants through virtual and online components, including coaches training, parent workshops, baseball and softball Dodger Drills, college-prep sessions, and Wellness Wednesdays fitness and nutrition lessons. Field Champions have also been activated to provide direct support at food distribution centers and Dodger Day Drive-Thru events for low-income communities. Through these efforts, LADF will continue to significantly equip coaches to help support participants in underserved communities to access resources and services they need to thrive.

To learn more about the program and the members selected as the 2020 Class of Project Play Champions, please visit https://www.aspenprojectplay.org/champions.

About the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation:

ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is bigger than baseball with ambitions to be the city’s premier charity. We envision a city where everyone regardless of zip code has the opportunity to thrive. We are tackling the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, health care, homelessness and social justice for all Angelenos. Since 1995, we have invested more than $30 million in programs and grants to nonprofits, and fundraising has increased by 1,000% since 2012. That growth has enabled us to do more.

Visit LADF online at www.dodgers.com/ladf, follow them on Twitter, @DodgersFdn, Instagram, @dodgersfoundation, and like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LosAngelesDodgersFoundation. 

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