Posted on March 8, 2011 by Silvia Ashmore — Leave a Comment
Guest blog post by: Ben Longcor, Insight & Analytics, Senior Analyst, WE-Portland
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” – Jackie Robinson
Something that makes me truly proud to work at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide is the strong emphasis on giving back and this is a story about how I have chosen to give back…
Six years ago, my father and I talked about giving back to a game that we had grown to love over the years; baseball brought us closer together as I grew into my teenage years and beyond.
My father wanted to leave part of his estate to youth baseball programs in Oregon and I was honored to help him; Friends of Baseball (FOB) was conceived! FOB helps youth stay on the field, plus thanks the thousands of coaches, parents and volunteers who give so much of themselves for young ballplayers.
Our board of trustees started out as close friends, family and business partners to help incubate our new project. My father was retired and was soon spending 30–40 hours a week building what FOB is today!
In addition to granting funds for teams in need – under the auspices of the Oregon Sports Authority – and fostering programs to help local youths, we nurtured relationships with local and national organizations like Nike, Adidas, Wilson Sporting Goods, Junior Baseball Organization (JBO) and Little League Baseball; resulting in additional funding, goods and services to supplement our programs.
Present day: we have deepened our bench with talented trustees – helping us really touch the community we are trying to reach. This journey is just rounding first base, and we are excited to cruise into second as we become a true nonprofit with our 501(c)(3) status in 2011.
In FOB’s six years of life, we have helped teams that needed new uniforms, teams whose league president stole money and nearly shut them down and teams that were burglarized or hit by natural disasters. We are proud to say that we have helped fund and/or facilitate $500,000 in goods & services toward youth programs with significant need, and we look forward to building on that in the years to come!
How You Can Contribute
Our first fundraiser is on March 10; The Friends of Baseball Film Festival (West End Theater, Portland, OR) – auction, reception and a screening of a wonderful documentary about what it is like to live the life of a minor league ballplayer, called “Time in the Minors.” It will truly open your eyes to the reality of the job!
You can register for the event and/or contribute here: http://www.friendsofbaseball.org/filmfestival. I am honored that Waggener Edstrom is supporting the event with a $150 Employee Volunteer Grant.