MLB and Scotts Grant Recipients Use Multiple Funding Sources for Field of Dreams Renovations

Involvement in team sports creates important learning experiences for children the world over, and Wewoka, Oklahoma is no exception.  For over 70 years, the Lions club little league baseball field has served thousands of children in Wewoka and the surrounding rural communities, but over time the field has fallen into disrepair.

The Wewoka Ballpark Development Squad is undertaking a project to restore their "field of dreams." To this end, they have sought funding from multiple sources, including embarking on a six-week YouHelp crowdfunding campaign to raise $150,000 for the new field. The Wewoka Ballpark Development Squad, comprised of the City of Wewoka, Jearl Smart Foundation, the Wewoka Chapter of Lions Club International, and a team of consultants organized specifically for the renovation and expansion of Wewoka's Historic Ballpark, is encouraging Wewoka Tigers Alumni, current and former residents, athletes, supporters, coaches to contribute to the campaign and share the information with their friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels. 

The complex will consist of four fields, with a capacity to serve more than 3,000 children in the surrounding communities. 

"In restoring the little league fields, we hope to not only provide these opportunities for the youth in Wewoka, but we also hope that this project demonstrates to each child what is possible. A new, state-of-the-art field would represent the idea that anything is achievable regardless of your current circumstance. In this way, the project benefits not only the children but every citizen of Wewoka. We understand that this project will require an immense amount of time, work and energy. Our children are worth it," said a spokesperson for Wewoka's baseball field project. 

A Dream Come True

When major league baseball (MLB) All-Star and 2008 World Series champion Chase Utley announced this year's winners of the 2019 MLB award with Scotts Lawn Care grant award many were in disbelief to hear him congratulate the City of Wewoka named first among the four recipients. Utley was one of a panel of judges which included Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., Olympic Gold Medalist and MLB Youth Softball Ambassador Jennie Finch, World Series champion and MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd, and additional executive leadership from MLB and Scotts. 

Chase Utley announces winner of the MLB with Scotts Lawn Care Grant

"We're looking forward to fixing up your fields. Listen, I have two young boys. I enjoy watching them play baseball, especially on beautiful fields. I think every kid should have the opportunity to feel safe, feel comfortable, and really look forward  to that experience of going to a beautiful baseball field and what Scotts and Major League Baseball have done over the past several years is extremely important and true to my heart, to support their program and they've done a great job. 

The City of Wewoka was chosen from 350 applicants to receive the grant, a partnership between the Scotts Company LLC (Scotts) and Major League Baseball. The two partner each year to refurbish youth baseball and softball fields around the country. Grant applications this year came from over 300 cities in 46 states. The grant initiative is part of the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program which provides youth with modern, playable baseball and softball fields in American communities of need. More than $200,000 in repairs and upgrades will be made across the four fields in the next few months. 

The other winners of the grant program this year are Allentown School District and Lehigh Valley RBI Baseball (PA),  Friends of Ray School PTO (Chicago, IL) and Friends of Mount Vernon Arts, Recreation and Youth Programs, Inc. (NY). 

In addition to the grant, Scotts will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at each chosen field as well as a youth baseball clinic run by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation that will be attended by special Major League guests. A new equipment package will also be provided to each of the four grant recipients. 

The poverty rate in Wewoka exceeds 55% in children under the age of 18. Growing up in a struggling rural community like Wewoka, youth face many problems like economic disparity, educational inequality, poverty, and in many cases, abuse and neglect.

Nearly 10,000 children in and around Wewoka use this field, allowing them the opportunity to dream of a better future, learn important life skills, build friendships, find mentors, and grow.  

The money raised will expand the Lions Club Ballpark in phases; pay for building and refurbishment of fields, provide new concession and bathroom facilities, as well as shading, seating, and parking.

The entire budget for the project is $700,000. Donations for over $109,000 have been received so far. 

Find out more about renovation projects for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits on YouHelp. Start a crowdfunding campaign to renovate, repair, or rebuild a home, business, or your nonprofit's premises today. 

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for YouHelp and all GrantWatch websites.

Crowdfunding for Nonprofits Campaign Essentials

Sometimes it takes a village, sometimes it takes a crowd. One thing is certain, it doesn't just take one or two individuals when i comes to crowdfunding for nonprofits. At YouHelp we emphasize the importance of campaign organizers' efforts. You must do the work for your campaign to be potentially successful. We have a unique 30-day chart that we have formulated for you to follow and raise the chances of reaching your funding goal. 

Fundraising of any kind, is work – but seeing your idea come to fruition makes it all worthwhile.  To raise money, you need to reach out to possible contributors and create excitement and stimulate interest in your nonprofit, small business, invention or emergency need. 
 
The interactive chart below is available to all campaigns once they go live from the navigation bar Tips and Templates tab. 

Are you ready to be truly engaged for thirty days after the campaign is approved?  If not, let us know and we will take down your started project and put it up again when you're ready. We're here to help you succeed. 

If you're ready, then start posting and sharing the most engaging campaign ever with your crowd. 

Here are some essentials:

  1. Personally contact your friends and family (your inner circle). These can be your strongest supporters. 
  2. Send out emails to all your contacts.
  3. Use social media. Upload your email contacts to Facebook and other platforms and continue to build your contact base and post about your campaign regularly across platforms. 
  4. Tell the story. An engaging story brings in donations 
  5. Have a serious business plan you can present to anyone who asks. Include an explanation of how the money you raise will be used. 
  6. Include a short, concise video pitch with a request for contributions.
  7. Have realistic goals
  8. Thank your donors and supporters. Many experts recommend crowdfunding campaigns give gifts and rewards for different levels of giving. 
  9. Be prepared to stay active on social media for the duration of your campaign. 

For more information on building a successful campaign, see our recent article: The Three Circles of Fundraising and Crowdfunding Success

Crowdfunding provides a nonprofit, startup or individual with money to improve upon – or begin – its enterprises. In addition, it provides a potential base of followers on your social media. So, post often and respond to questions. For businesses, the exposure provides potential customers and for nonprofits, future donors. Your crowdfunding for nonprofits campaign can be the first time an individual hears about your organization.

If your story, or pitch text, is not engaging, you are less likely to obtain contributions. Luckily, YouHelp offers flexible funding. So, if you don’t reach your monetary goal you can keep whatever funds you raise. For your pitch text to be engaging, tell your back story. Where did you start and how have you ended up where you are? What are you hoping to raise funds for? Provide details about where contributions will go.

It's important to accurately gauge your fundraising goal.  If it is too high, unrealistic, or does not match the need described, people will contribute elsewhere. If you are planning a stimulus package of perks include their cost and the cost for shipping (if any) in the amount of money you want to raise.

For more information, talk to our crowdfunding mentor today: 888-240-1494, or start a crowdfunding campaign for you nonprofit today on YouHelp

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for YouHelp.com and all GrantWatch blogs and newsletters.

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