The Arizona Diamondbacks and their charitable arm, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, surpassed $50 million in charitable giving since their inception in 1998. The milestone was announced at the 11th Annual Evening on the Diamond on March 29. For the first time, the event was held at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the spring training home of the Diamondbacks. More than 700 attended.
During the event, Amy Gibbons, past president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix, was honored with the Lee T. Hanley Community Leadership Award. There was also surprise presentation of the Luis Gonzalez Heart of a Champion Scholarship to Stephen Dwyer. Dwyer is a cancer survivor, swim team captain and Dobson High School student body president for the class of 2016.
The team gave away more than $700,000 in Ken Kendrick Grand Slam Awards to eight nonprofit organizations to surpass the $50 million mark. Recipients were the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation (Phoenix Zoo), Catholic Charities Community Services for MANA house, Florence Crittenton, Hacienda Healthcare, Hug Clinic at Gateway Community College, Save the Family Foundation of Arizona, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the University of Arizona Mobile Outreach Clinic.
The evening, presented by PetSmart, was chaired by PetSmart President and CEO Michael Massey and his wife, Lori. It included dinner and live and silent auctions, raising a record $2.1 million for the foundation. Country music star Dustin Lynch provided the entertainment.
Of the $50 million given back to the community since 1998, more than half has been dedicated to the state’s youth. With funding for organizations such as Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Boys & Girls Clubs, Special Olympics and the Foundation for Blind Children, the franchise is deeply committed to its next generation of fans.
Fans contribute daily to the team’s efforts, as the 50/50 Raffle at Chase Field, presented by Western Refining, raised more than $1.5 million last season and this year will expand with new ways for fans to purchase tickets. On May 16, the team will host its annual broadcast fundraiser on FOX Sports Arizona, which has raised more than $1.9 million since 2001.
PHOTOS COURTESY ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS