KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 20, 2015) — For years, the Kauffman Foundation has given blocks of complimentary Kansas City Royals tickets to more than 80 youth-focused nonprofit organizations in Kansas City so the youth they serve may attend a Major League Baseball game.
This year, like a Yordano Ventura fastball, the program has been given a special spin.
"We love to support the important work these organizations do for youth throughout Kansas City, but this year we wanted to bring them together to build on the tremendous community spirit of the Royals' inspiring playoff run, the team's American League championship and their return to the World Series," said Gloria Jackson-Leathers, the Kauffman Foundation's director of civic engagement.
Today, representatives of Kansas City's youth-focused nonprofits attended the inaugural Royals Ticket Giveaway event, along with Royals mascot Sluggerrr and baseball historian KayCee, affectionately known as The "W" Guy.
It also included a historical video of Ewing Kauffman speaking about the Royals, trivia questions for door prizes, and traditional ballpark fare of hotdogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks.
During the event, the Kauffman Foundation distributed approximately 4,000 baseball tickets for the upcoming season.
In addition, Ronald Stevenson, director of RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Programs for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, spoke about his experience participating in Kauffman's Royals Ticket Giveaway program.
"Many of the youth we've taken in the past have only seen the Royals on TV or driven by the stadium," he said. "Thanks to the Kauffman Foundation, this provides an opportunity for thousands of youth to experience the magic of baseball firsthand and feel a part of the larger Kansas City community."
The annual Royals Ticket Giveaway recalls Ewing Kauffman's commitment to making sure fans could see their hometown team take the field. "Kansas City has been good to me, and I want to show I can return the favor," Mr. Kauffman often remarked.
During the Royals' glory years, he limited season ticket sales so tickets would be available to individual games. Fans in one of the sport's smallest markets responded by filling the stadium, topping the magic 2 million season-attendance mark seven seasons in a row, and 11 times in all.