The Wilmington Blue Rocks proudly announce that the 2009 season saw the team, in tandem with its marketing partners and fans, donate and raise $424,000 worth of contributions to local charities, schools and community organizations. The sum represents a collective of many different types of contributions with the majority coming from monetary and ticket donations.
“We take pride in being able to contribute at this level to youth and charitable organizations in the greater Wilmington area,” said Blue Rocks general manager Chris Kemple. “I’m certain that we could not have done this without assistance from our 2009 marketing partners and fans that also played a large role in raising these funds.”
Blue Rocks concessionaire, Centerplate, allows community organizations the opportunity to volunteer at the concession stands during home games in return for a percentage of the money received at each stand. Thanks to this program almost $74,000 was given back to community organizations.
The Blue Rocks continue to support local youth baseball and donated over $1,600 as well as used baseball equipment to local Little League organizations.
Game-worn memorabilia auctions saw an increase in frequency and dollar amounts, helping to raise over $6,300. On April 19, the Blue Rocks wore purple hats to raise money for the Bernadette Farrell Memorial Fund as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Night. The Rocks sported pink jerseys on May 29 to benefit the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.
The Rocks wore camouflage hats on May 30 and August 1 to raise money for Delaware Boots on the Ground and USO Delaware. On July 3, Wilmington donned patriotic jerseys to support United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware (UCP). The Rocks wore Red hats on June 25 to raise funds for the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula. The Rocks also sported gold jerseys on Aug. 13 for Elvis Night to benefit the local chapter of the American Lung Association. Blue Rocks players went beyond the laundry too, donating game-worn cleats and batting gloves that were auctioned off for charity.
his Reading Challenge, presented by the Delaware State Education Association. The Blue Rocks worked with local schools to reward kids who met their reading goal. In 2009, over 150 area schools were awarded a total of 57,000 tickets. Along with Rocky’s Reading Challenge the Blue Rocks donated over 2,500 tickets through programs like the IFS Outstanding Students Program, which allows teachers to reward students who display excellence in behavior and performance in the classroom.
The team also donated over 8,000 tickets to community organizations throughout the 2009 campaign with 6,000 going to local fundraisers, 1,000 donated to the USO Delaware to use for their soldiers and staff, and the remainder finding a number of other local non-profit organizations in need. Those same non-profit groups received another $2,000 worth of free/discounted video board advertising and concourse tables to promote themselves and their worthy events.
The Blue Rocks organized special events to collect money and goods for those less fortunate. Before the season, the team held a gift drive for kids at the Mary Campbell Center. The team also offered ticket discounts to fans that donated items to the Food Bank of Delaware. The Blue Rocks Charity Golf Classic, held at Deerfield Golf and Tennis Club on Aug. 17, raised over $1,500 for UCP and CHILD, Inc. in one day.
Community appearances proved a regular item on the team’s calendar. Mascot Rocky Bluewinkle and numerous Blue Rocks players visited A.I. duPont Hospital for Children at least once a month throughout the season in addition to other appearances. Rocky logged over 60 community service hours at schools and charitable events as well. Rocks’ players put in over 20 hours despite their grueling 140-game schedule over five-plus months time. The Blue Rocks visited schools and community organizations throughout the Delaware Valley, tallying over 40 hours of their time throughout the season.
The K’s for Kids Program presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware (BCBSDE) completed its fourth season with great success. BCBSDE donated $10 to a local charity for every home game strikeout the Blue Rocks pitching staff recorded. Thanks to this program, BCBSDE presented Girls on the Run a check for $5,000 before the Blue Rocks game on Sept. 2.
Challenger Little League returned for its annual day of baseball on May 12. Teams from the league were able to play their games on Judy Johnson Field before the Rocks’ contest later that night in a tradition that has spanned over a decade.
During the last homestand of the regular season, the Wilmington police department collected donations for the daughter of a slain Georgetown police officer Chad Spicer. The generosity of Blue Rocks fans contributed over $5,000 to Aubrey Spicer’s trust fund.