Giving back to community year-round effort

Giving back to community year-round effort

Giving back to community year-round effort

ST. LOUIS -- It was a banner year for the Cardinals, who captured another National League pennant after making the postseason for the third consecutive season. The on-field success was certainly notable, but there was plenty taking place outside the ballpark that will remain a part of the handprint left by the 2013 club.

Beginning with the organization's January Winter Warm-Up event and concluding next month with a toy drive and holiday party, the Cardinals will have spent the year impacting the St. Louis community in a variety of ways. That's in addition to the numerous individual charity initiatives hosted by players.

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This year, Cardinals Care, the organization's community foundation supporting kids, distributed more than $220,000 to 125 local nonprofit groups through its grant program.

Raising money for Cardinals Care happened through a variety of fundraisers. Winter Warm-Up remains the Cardinals' biggest annual fundraiser. An in-game, on-air auction of unique Cardinals experiences raised more than $87,000, and the team's Jersey Day brought in more than $76,000. The fourth annual Cardinals Care 6K, held on Aug. 18, also benefited Cardinals Care.

Cardinals Care, with the help of Relevant Sports, Chelsea Football Club and Manchester City Football Club, also made a substantial donation to help children in Moore, Okla., who were affected by a May tornado. A portion of the ticket sales from the May soccer game between Chelsea and Manchester City at Busch Stadium went into this fund. The two soccer teams matched that donation to bring the total to $135,000. Nearly another $12,000 was raised at the gate from fan donations.

It marked the second time in three years that the Cardinals had stepped up to help a community devastated by tornado damage. The organization's efforts to help in Joplin, Mo., concluded this past May with the dedication ceremony for the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity's Governor Challenge. The Cardinals helped to build five of the 35 houses constructed through this project.

While there was a substantial financial component in the Cardinals' community initiatives this season, impact went well beyond that, too.

Through the Cardinals' "Doin' It Right" program -- which encourages students to stay away from drugs, stay in school and participate in sports -- more than 80 schools were visited. The Redbird Rookies program also continued, this year with 4,100 participants. Scholarships were awarded to a handful of children and prizes were awarded for those who completed a summer reading program.

In May, Cardinals Care dedicated a baseball field in Berkley, Mo., an area that had been hit by a 2011 tornado. That field was built in honor of Chris Carpenter. A month later, the club dedicated another local field, this one designed for children with special needs.

The Ted Savage RBI Golf Classic was held in June to benefit the local RBI program. A few days later, nine Cardinals players visited three area hospitals to surprise children with Build-A-Bear teddy bears in team gear.

Several of the players' wives assisted with fundraisers, too. Their autograph grab bag events at Busch Stadium brought in more than $70,000 for four nonprofit organizations. Nearly $20,000 was raised for the Susan G. Komen foundation on Mother's Day through a raffle for signed jerseys.

Some of the biggest fundraisers, though, were hosted by players themselves. Adam Wainwright raised $110,000 to be split among two charities -- Operation Food Search and Water Missions International -- through creating a unique fantasy football league. Jason Motte recently hosted his second annual Strike Out Cancer event in Memphis to raise money for cancer research and facility needs.

Carlos Beltran, who was named the Roberto Clemente Award winner in October, hosted "A Night in Old San Juan" in St. Louis over the summer to raise money for the Carlos Beltran Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico.

Matt Holliday, David Freese and Allen Craig teamed up to support the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation. In the second year of the program's existence, more than $500,000 was raised through pledges per home run hit by the Cardinals.

The Cardinals will close out the year with a pair of December events. The first will be a toy drive on Dec. 6, during which the organization will collect toys and gift cards to be distributed to children at the Scott Air Force Base. A week later, Cardinals Care will host a holiday party for children affiliated with several non-profit organizations and the Redbird Rookies.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.