It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that the White Sox have been named recipients of the 2022 Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence. The honor recognizes the team’s Amateur City Elite (ACE) program, which provides educational and baseball opportunities for underserved Chicago youth.
Now in its 16th year, ACE’s no-cost program has provided year-round support to more than 640 youth in the Chicagoland area. As a result of the club’s work, more than 120 ACE alumni have played collegiate baseball at the Division I level, with 70+ alumni, including more than a dozen coaches, having attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Over 85 ACE alumni have earned college degrees, while more than 110 are actively pursuing their degrees.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Jerry Reinsdorf and the entire Chicago White Sox organization for this much-deserved recognition of service to young people in Chicago,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “The ACE program is a model of how Clubs can successfully impact lives through action based on values that are important to our sport. Philanthropy remains one of the cornerstones of baseball’s connections to our communities. I thank all of our 30 Clubs for their year-round efforts to make a difference.”
“While winning the World Series will always be one of the happiest moments of my life, I am equally proud of the work we have done through the White Sox ACE program,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox Chairman. “Baseball is a game we love, but for ACE players, the game means even more. Baseball’s ability to make a life-changing impact for the kids in our program is incredibly powerful. In that spirit, ACE has created opportunities for many young men in Chicago who may have been easily overlooked. The ACE program gives players an opportunity, and then our ACE players deserve so much credit for putting in the time and hard work to reach their goals. The number of ACE alumni who have been drafted is impressive, but personally, I am proud of the 250 young men who have earned college scholarships through the program and gone on to build successful lives in the world.”
Here’s some additional background on the program as detailed on MLB.com:
The White Sox created the Amateur City Elite (ACE) program in 2007 to reverse the declining interest and participation in baseball among African American youth, while offering resources and mentorship to pull kids away from the dangers of some of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods. The program holds a 99% high school graduation rate. In addition, more than 250 college scholarships have been earned by ACE participants to schools like Louisville, Michigan and Vanderbilt, as well as several HBCUs. Since its inception, 28 players have been selected in the MLB Draft.
The organization’s nonprofit arm, Chicago White Sox Charities (CWSC), has given more than $38 million to nonprofit organizations across the city. As part of their mission to make Chicago a better place to live, work and play, the White Sox teamed up with the city’s storied sports franchises to support evidence-based solutions to gun violence through the Chicago Sports Alliance.
This marks the second time the organization has won this award. The previous occurrence came back in 2011 when the White Sox Volunteer Corps was honored. The unique initiative was designed to activate the fan base with White Sox players, executives and staff in helping give back to the greater Chicago community through service.
Following this afternoon’s announcement, the White Sox said that the Paul and Sandra Garrett Foundation, longtime friends of White Sox Charities, will match total donations to the ACE program up to $6,000 for the next week. Fans are able to donate by clicking here.
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Featured Photo: Sox Charities/Twitter