06/07/2010 3:12 PM ET
MLB All-Star and Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino establishes the Shane Victorino Foundation
Pledges $900,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia
MLB All-Star and Philadelphia Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino and his wife, Melissa, announced the formation of the Shane Victorino Foundation. Its mission is to promote opportunities for underserved youth in Philadelphia and Hawaii by engaging in projects which provide children with educational, recreational and wellness programs.
For its first major project, the Foundation pledged $900,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia to renovate its Nicetown unit. This club is one of the "original 53" that formed Boys & Girls Clubs of America, more than 100 years ago. The Nicetown section of Philadelphia is historically one of the most economically challenged areas of the city, with a significant crime rate and lack of positive after-school options for neighborhood youth. The Nicetown Boys & Girls Club currently serves over 100 members, but the Boys & Girls Clubs hopes that renovations to the club will increase its appeal and provide a safe place to learn, play and grow for even more local children.
"This is an extraordinarily generous commitment on the part of Shane and Melissa Victorino, not only to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, but to the residents of Nicetown and to the city. This donation will allow us to transform our seventy-year old Nicetown facility into the centerpiece Club of the twelve sites we have located throughout the city," said Rick Wegryn, Board Chairman of Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia.
Plans will begin by the end of this year and construction is expected to take 9-12 months to complete; after which time, the club will be renamed the "Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club."
As expressed by Shane Victorino, "I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the communities that have given so much to me. Over the past few years, Melissa and I have lent our support to a number of great organizations. However, we wanted to make an even bigger impact by starting a foundation focused on changing the lives of children in need. Our first step towards making that change is the renovation of this club."
Known as the "Flyin' Hawaiian," Victorino was born in Maui, Hawaii and has been with the Phillies organization since 2005. The Shane Victorino Foundation is based in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Victorino and his family reside during the off-season. However, nearly all of the Foundation's charitable activities will take place in Philadelphia and Hawaii.
Even prior to establishing the Foundation, Shane and Melissa Victorino have been actively involved in philanthropy - hosting a shoe drive in Philadelphia; a charity ticket program with the Phillies; a toy drive in Las Vegas; and raising over $200,000 for charity through their celebrity golf tournament in Hawaii, among other activities. They will continue to pursue their philanthropic endeavors through the Shane Victorino Foundation. The Foundation's first fundraising event is planned for this summer in Philadelphia, along with the 3rd annual golf tournament in Hawaii later this year.