Journey House has been selected by a special blue ribbon panel to receive a field refurbishment grant from the Scotts Company LLC (Scotts) and Major League Baseball (MLB). Scotts and MLB today announced the four community organizations that will receive improvements to their local ball fields through an inaugural grant initiative that is part of the Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program. The Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program provides youth with modern, playable baseball and softball fields in American communities of need.
The winners of the grant program are: the Red Sox Foundation in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (MA), United Way of Central Georgia (GA), Journey House (WI) and DREAM (formerly known as Harlem RBI) (NY). Additionally, by winning one of the grants, the Atlanta Braves committed to helping refurbish a second field for the United Way of Central Georgia. A fifth grant will be awarded to another organization decided upon by an online vote set to launch next month. More than $250,000 in repairs and upgrades will be made across the five fields this spring.
Journey House is one of four grant-winning organizations announced today that were selected from over 350 grant applications across 315 cities in 43 states seeking refurbishments for their youth fields. The winning organizations were chosen by a special blue-ribbon panel which included two-time World Series champion & ESPN analyst David Ross, Olympic Gold Medalist & MLB Youth Softball Ambassador Jennie Finch, World Series champion & MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd, MLB Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations Kim Ng, Scotts Vice President & General Manager Josh Peoples and additional executives from MLB and Scotts. The panel also selected the finalists for the online vote, those of which will be announced prior to next month’s online vote.
In addition to the five grantees, this summer Scotts and MLB will refurbish a Washington, D.C. area youth field as part of MLB’s All-Star Legacy Initiative. Scotts and MLB also plan to renovate a field in Tallahassee, FL, which will be in partnership with Ross and the city of Tallahassee’s Parks & Recreation Department.
“Having a clean, safe place to play ball is one of the most important parts of getting kids active and outside,” said Ross. “The youth in all of these communities are in for a real treat and I’m just so happy that they’ll have a greater opportunity to practice, play games, run around and just have a catch when they want. It’s wonderful to see Scotts and MLB supporting a great initiative like this for the next generation.”
More than $250,000 in repairs and upgrades will be made across the five grantee fields this spring, with another $150,000+ in support being dedicated to the three additional field refurbishments.
Journey House is an organization that empowers families on Milwaukee’s near southside to move out of poverty through youth development and family engagement, amongst other efforts. Journey House will use this grant as part of an existing project that looks to transform the urban baseball playing infrastructure into a beautiful community for its youth scholar athletes. This youth field will become one of the centerpieces of the redevelopment of the entire 15 acre Baran Park.
“At Journey House, we believe that athletic fields are our outdoor classroom. We are honored to partner with Scotts and Major League Baseball in the renovation of our Felix Mantilla Little League Fields at Milwaukee County Baran Park,” said Dr. Michele Bria, CEO of Journey House. “We are excited about all the possibilities and opportunities that will happen for our Scholar Athletes, families, and neighborhood residents with the redevelopment of our baseball fields. It will be truly catalytic.”
“Creating safe, quality places for kids to play is an important component in growing and retaining participation in our sport,” said Tony Reagins, MLB Senior Vice President of Youth Programs. “We congratulate these organizations for winning these inaugural grants and for putting the future of our game in a great position to succeed in these communities.”