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LISC Chicago Executive Director Meghan Harte was a big fan of Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon’s choice of apparel on Friday.
Maddon donned a LISC Chicago T-shirt after the Cubs’ game versus the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field. Every season, the Cubs manager highlights nonprofit organizations through his “Respect Community” T-shirt initiative. After every Friday home game, Maddon wears a local organization’s T-shirt during his post-game press conference and shares a bit about their work.
“On Friday, April 27, Cubs Manager Joe Maddon represented LISC Chicago in honor of our partnership to implement the Cubs Charities Diamond Project,” said Keri Blackwell, Assistant Director, Community Affairs and Cubs Charities. “Since 2014, Cubs Charities and LISC Chicago have united to award grants to community-based organizations across Chicago to refurbish baseball and softball fields. Over the last four years, we’ve proudly provided more than $5 million in support of 45 capital projects.”
There have been numerous partnership successes between LISC and Cubs Charities. That includes a $65,000 grant via the Diamond Project in 2016 to provide upgrades to the baseball fields at Davis Square Park in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The grant supported general field improvements, four sets of ADA bleachers, scoreboards, pitching mounds and bases. The 8.3-acre Davis Square Park at 44th Street and Marshfield Avenue is an essential asset to Back of the Yards – serving as a place to play, socialize and learn.
Another success was a grant to Breakthrough in 2014 when the Diamond Project first launched to support indoor training amenities at the Breakthrough FamilyPlex, including retractable batting cages, a custom little league tarp system, two indoor pitcher's mounds, portable backstops, a pitching machine and a hitter's template.
The Diamond Project responds to the immediate shortage of playing fields and builds an infrastructure through partnerships and resident involvement that will sustain those open spaces for community use, increasing the number of kids playing baseball and softball throughout Chicago.
LISC Chicago’s key role is providing technical assistance for the Diamond Project to identify neighborhoods in need of new or improved baseball/softball fields and facilities. LISC Chicago also helps to identify community partners to work with – ones that demonstrate a commitment to maintaining and using the space for youth safety and community programing.
The Diamond Project grants range from $5,000 to $150,000 to support field surfaces, indoor training facilities, field maintenance and general field and stadium support. Cubs Charities has also donated seven scoreboards to local fields in partnership with Daktronics, the manufacturer of the video boards at Wrigley Field.
Most recently, Cubs Charities, LISC Chicago, Congressman Mike Quigley, Alderman Patrick O’Connor, the Chicago Park District and Friends of Amundsen High School celebrated the new baseball diamonds at Winnemac Park. Since 2015, Winnemac Park has received Cubs Charities Diamond Project support totaling $250,000 to support the complete refurbishment of one softball field including new backstops, dugouts, benches, side fencing, infield regrading, side fencing and a new outfield (Diamond #4); field enhancements at two baseball diamonds (Diamond #3 and Diamond #5) and minor remodeling of two junior fields (Diamond #1 and Diamond #2).
Maddon also wore a LISC T-shirt after Cubs home games on Sept. 15, 2017, and April 27, 2016.
“We are proud to partner with Cubs Charities to help implement the Diamond Project program to expand opportunities for thousands of kids to play ball across Chicago’s neighborhoods,” said Harte. “It was pretty awesome to have Cubs Manager, Joe Maddon, represent LISC on Friday through his Respect Community charity t-shirt initiative. We look forward to continuing our work together to foster a love for the game throughout the city.”
For more information on the Diamond Project or to apply for a Capital Improvement Grant, visit http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/community/charities/diamond_project.jsp