The Kansas City Royals have won what might be called the World Series of Philanthropy.
The Royals were given the 2021 Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence, Major League Baseball announced Friday.
The club was honored for its “Response to Recovery” effort, which provided educational support for youth as well as access to voting and COVID-19 vaccinations, primarily in the 18th & Vine District. The organization used its MLB Urban Youth Academy as a community resource for residents in the community, which is predominantly African-American and was one of the pandemic’s most affected parts of Kansas City.
The Royals' efforts helped provide more than 500,000 meals, grants to 17 nonprofit organizations and volunteers to support local organizations addressing issues related to COVID-19.
The Urban Youth Academy is a hub for youth baseball and softball, but during the pandemic it also supported in-person learning for high school and middle school students, helped prevent job disruptions for parents and guardians, hosted a Summer Learning Program and provided online STEM curriculum for math and science teachers to help them ease the burden of developing new ways to teach and engage their students.
The academy also served as a community center that offered access to both voting (1,300 voters hosted) and COVID-19 vaccinations (more than 4,400 doses administered).
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate John Sherman and the entire Kansas City Royals organization for this well-earned recognition of service to their community,” Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred said. “Their efforts provide a model on how organizations can make a meaningful impact in underserved areas that were the most negatively affected by the pandemic. I am especially thankful for their support of the 18th & Vine District, a special place for our sport that houses both the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Royals Urban Youth Academy.”
“Our entire organization is humbled by this award, especially as all 30 MLB clubs do impactful work in our communities,” said John Sherman, Royals chairman and CEO. “I am grateful for the commitment and passion of our associates, and am inspired by their resiliency. There is much more to do. The work continues, with gratitude for the opportunity to support the region we love.”