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Press Release

06/14/2011 4:07 PM ET
Players award $150,000 in grants to Volunteers of America programs nationwide that serve those in need

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- During Volunteers of America’s national conference in Sioux Falls, S.D., Major League baseball players presented $150,000 in grants from the Major League Baseball Players Trust to five Volunteers of America programs that further the organization’s mission to strengthen communities and build better lives for those in need. This year’s winning programs received Players Trust grants ranging in size from $20,000 to $50,000. A total of $880,000 has been provided by the Players Trust to 59 Volunteers of America programs since the first grants were presented in 2003.

Mike King, national president and CEO of Volunteers of America, said, “It’s inspiring to see the many accomplishments Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust have built together over the years. Thousands of people have benefited from the Trust’s generosity and we look forward to continuing to build our partnership in the future.”

“As in past years, it continues to be both touching and inspiring to learn about the many amazing programs and services of Volunteers of America,” said Melissa Persaud, Director of the Players Trust. “Major Leaguers are inspired by Volunteers of America’s long-standing commitment and ability to address pressing social needs in communities across the country, and they urge others to follow their example.”

The five programs receiving grants are:

Volunteers of America Northern New England, Veterans Career House: Players Trust funding will be used to purchase exercise equipment and design a workout room for residents of the Veterans Career House, a program for homeless veterans who are ready to live and work on their own. This room will become an important part of the program, which includes everything from helping veterans address addictions and mental health problems to developing work and independent living skills. Exercise will be fundamental to their new lives, helping rebuild their physical strength, resistance and endurance.

Volunteers of America Greater Ohio, Family Services program: The grant will be used to purchase a new, reliable van to provide safe transportation for children and families served through after-school and summer enrichment programs. Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio’s Family Services program offers safe, temporary housing and supportive services to more than 130 homeless families each year. The affiliate also operates 24 units of emergency housing along with long-term supportive housing for 30 families. The funding of a larger van will provide services to an additional eight homeless children each day who are currently on the waiting list due only to lack of transportation.

Volunteers of America of Indiana, Fatherhood Program Initiative: Funding will be used to launch the Fatherhood Program Initiative within the affiliate’s men’s reentry centers in Indianapolis and Evansville. The children of incarcerated parents are often overlooked and widely underserved. This program is designed to meet the needs of these at-risk children and their fathers through the use of the InsideOutDad curriculum. The funds will impact the most vulnerable households by serving nearly 600 individuals through the expertise and care of this newly instituted Fatherhood Program.

Volunteers of America Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho, homeless women’s services: Grant funds will be used to assist a county-wide outreach team and supportive housing program for homeless women. The funds will support the affiliate’s goal of moving these women from homelessness to stability with the purchase of Move-Out Baskets filled with useful, basic household items. These funds will benefit more than 300 homeless women a year.

Volunteers of America of Wisconsin, residential care home for disabled adults: Funds from the Players Trust will assist in the purchase and modification of a home in Greater Milwaukee designed to serve developmentally disabled adults with major behavioral problems who would otherwise most likely be served in an institution. The residents of the home will be able to live more fulfilled lives in a small home in a safe neighborhood with nurturing and well-trained caregivers, along with access to a broad range of community activities. Increased involvement in outside activities will improve individual self-esteem, personal happiness and independence. Families will have the security of knowing that their loved ones will be served for many years in a non-institutional setting with many benefits they deserve.

Volunteers of America has partnered with the Major League Baseball Players Trust since 2002. The centerpiece of this relationship is the Action Team program, which encourages young people throughout the United States to volunteer in their communities. Action Teams, consisting of Major League Baseball players and team captains from area high schools, work together in cities nationwide to encourage young people to get involved in their communities by volunteering. To date, Action Teams across the country have inspired more than 25,000 high school students to help over 100,000 people in need by volunteering in their communities.