Kauffman Foundation Kicks Off Mr. K’s Birthday Celebration with $1 Million Grant to Urban Youth Baseball Academy

Funds will contribute to building facility that will serve 800 to 1,000 youths each year

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 13, 2016) — The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is starting the 100-day countdown to its founder’s 100th birthday with a celebration of all the things he cared about most: baseball, giving back and the young people of Kansas City.

At “Kauffman Scholars Day at the K,” the Foundation announced a $1 million grant to the Kansas City Royals Urban Youth Baseball Academy. The grant will be used to support the construction of the buildings necessary to run the program, which will provide opportunities for urban youth to learn the techniques and play baseball and softball, while also developing important team-building and life skills.  

“I can’t think of a better way to begin the countdown to Mr. Kauffman’s 100th birthday than by announcing our support for a project like the Urban Youth Baseball Academy,” said Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “The Academy will help young people to develop not only baseball skills but critical life skills. We are honored to join the Glass family, Dayton Moore, Major League Baseball and many other community partners who have helped to bring the Academy to Kansas City.”

Kansas City will become the seventh Major League Baseball Academy site in the country. The construction phase of the Academy includes development of two Major League-size baseball fields, one women’s regulation-size softball field, one youth-size baseball field, one field with bleachers and one with a press box. The 47,400-square-foot indoor facilities will house a turf infield, four full-length batting cages, pitcher mounds, locker rooms, classrooms and office space. Construction on the fields is slated for completion by November 2016, with the buildings and interior work completed by June 2017. After construction is completed, the Academy will implement programming to serve 800 to 1,000 urban youths per year, ages 6 to 18, providing free, year-round baseball and softball instruction and play. The facilities will also be used to host tournaments, coaching clinics and skills camps.

“We couldn’t be more humbled and honored by this donation,” said Royals General Manager Dayton Moore. “Together with the Glass family’s generosity, celebrating Mr. Kauffman’s 100th birthday observance in this way is the perfect partnership for the academy.”