The Lexington Legends made donations totaling more than $1 million in 2016 to a variety of non-profit organizations serving central Kentucky.
In its 16-year history, the Legends have donated close to $15 million to the region.
“The Legends are proud to be part of this community and region,” said Legends president/CEO Andy Shea. “We will continue to provide support to these great organizations that do so much good work.”
Among the organizations and causes that benefited from events and programs in 2016 were:
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Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts: Overnight camp outs for Boy Scouts (Aug. 18) and Girl Scouts (May 6) were held following Legends games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. The scouts sold nearly 1,000 donated game tickets to raise funds for their organizations. About 700 scouts participated.
Breast Cancer Research and Awareness: The Legends held Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on July 9. Funds raised through an auction of pink jerseys and pink bases used during the Legends game that night, along with T-shirt sales, benefited Kentucky Cancer Link, which serves breast cancer patients by reducing or eliminating barriers to screening, diagnosis and treatment; the Markey Cancer Center, established in 1983; and Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.
Military Appreciation Night: The Legends’ Military Appreciation night was June 25. It included an auction of jerseys to benefit Military Missions, a local nonprofit organization that supports troops.
Bark in the Park: The Legends held 12 “Bark in the Park” nights during the 2016 season. Dog owners were invited to bring their dogs to the game, and a $2 admission charge for each dog was donated to the Scott County Humane Society.
Guns and Hoses Softball Game: The Legends provided the setting for the Guns and Hoses game, which pits the Lexington Police Department against the Lexington Fire Department in a softball game and home run derby. The winning team took home a trophy, and the loser received a toilet seat. More than 2,000 people attended.
Community Organization of the Night: The Legends provided opportunities for local nonprofit organizations to step into the spotlight at a Legends home game. Organizations set up an information table on the concourse, and a representative was interviewed on the field before the game and on radio during the game. Organizations that purchased discounted tickets for resale as a fundraiser also received 25 percent of the proceeds from that night’s 50-50 raffle.
Hit the Books Reading Program: The Legends’ Hit the Books Reading Program encouraged students to read. The Legends gave 33,000 Hit the Books bookmarks to Central Kentucky students in 2016. Those who completed the program were awarded two tickets to a Legends home game.
Field of Dreams: The Paul Miller Ford Field of Dreams program allowed young baseball and softball players to be part of pre-game festivities. The players were introduced to the fans and took the field with Legends starters. Teams were selected at random from registrations received at sponsor locations. Team members received complimentary admission to the game. The Legends hosted 80 Field of Dreams teams in 2016.
Legends Character Award at William Wells Brown Elementary: Every nine weeks during the school year, 19 students from William Wells Brown Elementary School in Lexington received the Legends Character Award. The award was designed to motivate students to demonstrate good behavior and a great attitude. The students were nominated by their teachers. Winners were publicly recognized and personally congratulated by the Legends’ Big L.
Kids Area: At every Legends home game in 2016, Lafayette High School cheerleaders volunteered in the Aetna Kids Play Area to raise money for their cheer program. The Legends made a $7,500 donation.
Go Red Night: The American Heart Association and St. Joseph Health Care System sponsored a “Go Red” Night on June 3 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, where fans received information about the dangers and risks of heart disease. Free blood pressure checks and presentations of information were provided.
Donation requests: The Legends donated tickets, memorabilia and merchandise to as many organizations as possible. Tickets were used by members of nonprofit organizations for auctions to raise funds. The Legends fulfilled more than 300 donation requests in 2016.
United Way of the Bluegrass: Donors to the United Way of the Bluegrass received two free box seat tickets to a Legends home game. In 2016, the Legends donated 23,333 tickets to the United Way.
St. Joseph Hospital Nursing Scholarship Program: At the end of every baseball season, the Legends held a silent auction for the jerseys worn by the players during home games. Proceeds went to the St. Joseph Hospital Nursing Scholarship Program.
Fundraising tickets: The Legends offered schools, teams and other organizations an opportunity to buy tickets at a discounted price and to raise funds by selling the tickets at regular price. More than 5,000 tickets were purchased in 2016.