Major League Baseball and the Reds partner each year to celebrate ALS Awareness Day and to honor several individuals living with the disease. The Reds hosted a special awareness day with the ALS Association of Central and Southern Ohio on Sunday, July 24.
In 2016, the Cincinnati Reds, Reds Community Fund and Pitch In For Baseball hosted the Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive. The joint effort helped supply equipment to underserved youth baseball and softball organizations. Pitch In For Baseball partnered with several local high schools and motivated area teams to donate by offering Reds incentives. More than 1,400 equipment and apparel items were collected.
In conjunction with the equipment drive, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund awarded a grant of $2,500 to Fairfield Community Foundation and to Fairborn Little League. The 2016 Baseball Tomorrow Fund Equipment Drive was held on June 11, 2016 at Great American Ball Park.
Now in its 20th year, Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life is a baseball-themed character education program developed by Major League Baseball and Scholastic Inc. Using America's sport, baseball, as the metaphor for life, the curriculum is based on the values demonstrated by barrier breaker Jackie Robinson: Determination, Commitment, Persistence, Integrity, Justice, Courage, Teamwork, Citizenship, and Excellence. The Breaking Barriers essay contest requires students, grades 4 through 9, to submit an essay about barriers or obstacles they have faced or are still facing in their lives, and how they used the values exemplified by Jackie Robinson to deal with those obstacles. One grand prize winner grades 4-6 will attend the All-Star Game and another grand prize winner grades 7-9 will attend the World Series.
Major League Baseball, the Reds and the Prostate Cancer Foundation teamed-up in support of the "Keep Dad in the Game" initiative for Father's Day weekend. On June 10, the Reds recognized the founder of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Prostate Cancer survivor, Michael Milken, during a pregame ceremony and ceremonial first pitch.
Major League Baseball annually recognizes April 15 as the most significant moment in league history - the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. MLB sets this day aside in an effort to highlight the life, values and accomplishments of Jackie Robinson. All players throughout the league wear #42 on this day every year. The Reds were not home on April 15 and therefore acknowledged the Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner award recipient, AlphaGraphics, with a pregame ceremony on April 18, 2016.
As America's national pastime, Major League Baseball has the social responsibility to support those who have truly made sacrifices on our behalf. Welcome Back Veterans was created to honor America's brave servicemen and women and help them make a successful transition back to civilian life.
The Reds hosted five military appreciation days throughout the 2016 season, each supporting a military focused nonprofit or a branch of the military.
The Reds participate in Major League Baseball's "Go To Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative each year as a way to increase awareness and early detection and to raise funds to support research. In 2016, Caitlin Adkins, a breast cancer survivor, was named the Reds' Honorary Bat Girl contest winner and recognized on the field prior to the game. During the game, players wore pink ribbons, wristbands and shoes and used pink bats in honor of breast cancer awareness.
Major League Baseball and the American Academy of Dermatology partner for the annual Play Sun Smart program, which educates baseball fans on the dangers of sun exposure and brings awareness to skin cancer prevention and detection. Kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati delivered sunscreen to the dugouts and TriHealth nurses and dermatologists were recognized in a special pregame ceremony. The 2016 Play Sun Smart Awareness Day took place on Sunday, May 22 at Great American Ball Park.
Major League Baseball celebrates Roberto Clemente Day as a league-wide initiative to honor the legacy of the Hall of Famer's humanitarian efforts. Not long after recording his 3,000th career hit, Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Clemente exemplified baseball's unique responsibility as a social institution and its ability to improve people's lives.
In 2016, Major League Baseball Charities recognized Reds nominee, Michael Lorenzen, with a $7,500 donation to the charity of his choice, the Dragonfly Foundation. Michael also supports organizations such as the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Matthew 25: Ministries, the Marvin Lewis Community Fund and the Children's Home of Northern Kentucky.
An MLB-sponsored free skills competition, Pitch, Hit & Run provides children ages 7 through 14 the opportunity to showcase their baseball skills. Team Championship events are hosted at all 30 Major League ballparks and the National Finals will be held at the 2016 MLB All-Star Game in San Diego, CA.
P.L.A.Y. (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) is a public awareness campaign that promotes an active lifestyle and warns against the dangers of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. The clinic is a collaboration between the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS), Taylor Hooton Foundation, Henry Schein Cares Foundation and MLB Charities. The 2016 P.L.A.Y. Clinic featured 50 kids from local youth baseball and RBI teams and was hosted by Reds' Head Athletic Trainer, Steve Baumann and Reds Right Handed Pitcher, J.J. Hoover.