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Ripken Foundation Celebrates Community Enhancement Partners

January 19, 2023

The Ripken Foundation has expanded its efforts to address the needs of the underserved youth we impact throughout the year. In this month’s feature story, we would like to highlight our Community Enhancement Project partners. Launched in 2014, the goal was to engage employees of major corporate partners and to revitalize community spaces in need of updating or repair. With the help of Devon Energy, Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), Niagara Cares, Under Armour Freedom, UnitedHealthcare, and the WAY Foundation, we have been able to enhance fitness, nutrition, and wellness programming as well as STEM education at our program sites across the country, while also giving opportunities to volunteer in the communities they work and live. Through our Community EnhancementProject Initiative, we have been able to impact over 215,000 students, families, volunteers, teachers, and coaches at 176 schools and community-based organizations.

Volunteerism and engagement are very important parts of our corporate partnerships which allow us toUHC focus on what is important to our partners and their employees. The Ripken Foundation and UnitedHealthcare collaborate on the implementation of the Team8 Tour, a national program that has helped to renovate or activate 41 fitness, outdoor, and nutrition spaces in 19 states since 2013. Together with UnitedHealthcare, we have completed 113 projects in 19 states. “UnitedHealthcare is proud to partner with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to address childhood obesity by enhancing fitness spaces at schools in underserved communities through the Team8 Tour initiative,” said Olivia Jefferson, vice president, UnitedHealthcare Social Responsibility.

The Ripken Foundation’s Community Enhancement Project Initiative has been so successful because of the commitment of our corporate partners. Our partner since 2016, Niagara Cares and their employees have helped us to update fitness spaces at 16 schools and community-based organizations in 10 different states.

Through our amazing partnerships, we have been able to support different communities across the country. “NCEF has been a proud partner of the Ripken Foundation's Community Enhancement Project initiative,” said Maria Jimenez-Lara, CEO of NCEF. The Foundation has been working with NCEF since 2012. “With the help of the Foundation, NCEF provided much-needed support to Youth Haven, a local emergency and residential shelter for boys and girls ages 6-19 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment in Naples, FL. By revitalizing their community garden and creating a clean, safe space for kids who live at Youth Haven, it provided them the opportunity to participate in healthy, positive activities. Giving kids this kind of opportunity shows them our commitment to their success in and out of the classroom and teaches them life skills, like respect, communication, and teamwork throughout the year,” continued Jimenez-Lara.

UA FreedomOur newer Community Enhancement program partners, The WAY Foundation (since 2022) and Devon Energy (since 2019), have helped us to impact over 600 youth in the time we have been working together. Under Armour Freedom has also joined us for three projects in three states, impacting over 100 youth with the help of 176 law enforcement and adult volunteers.

In addition to healthy living spaces, this program has included: constructing and renovating community gardens; outfitting school weight rooms and food pantries; cooking and serving healthy meals; providing sports equipment and sports-themed youth development programming; and hosting sports clinics. "We want to thank our partners at UnitedHealthcare, Niagara Cares, Devon Energy, NCEF, Home Depot, and Under Armour for helping us to make an indelible impact and create meaningful connections in the communities we serve throughout the country, " said Steve Salem, President & CEO of the Ripken Foundation.

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  • Reach and Impact

    Reach & Impact

    In 2022, the Ripken Foundation collaborated with 589 local youth-serving partners and law enforcement agencies in 383 cities and towns in 46 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Colombia to impact over 1.2 million at-risk youth. The Ripken Foundation Portal, which gives mentors access to our program curriculum guides, impacted 590,075 of those at-risk youth while our virtual programs reached over 3,132 kids. In addition, we now have 275 STEM Centers completed in 19 states giving over 80,000 kids the early exposure and hands-on opportunity to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

  • Mentoring

    Mentoring

    In 2022, over 4,234 coaches, law enforcement officers, teachers, volunteers, and other youth mentors worked with the kids in our programs. Badges for Baseball, our signature crime prevention and mentoring program, impacted 31,121 kids in 111 communities.

  • Youth Development Parks

    Youth Development Parks

    We’re adding more of our signature Youth Development Parks every year—creating safe places to play and renewing community pride.

    ydp map

Testimonials

We love to hear how the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has positively impacted the lives of our mentors and at-risk youth. If you have a positive experience with the Foundation that you would like to share, please submit a story. You might be featured below or on our social media outlets!

  • Ernie Graham

    I remember meeting Ernie Graham on the second day of the CRSF Summer Camp and listening to the story he told us about how he went from rags to riches to rags. I can honestly say that the summer camp was the reason I came back to school and decided to become a smart athlete.

    Cornell Powell
    Former Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Summer Camp Participant
  • kids with cop shield

    The Badges for Baseball program was a 100% law enforcement participation program and the kids that participated were at-risk kids who would never speak or communicate with the police. That has changed drastically, these kids now run up to the police cruisers and they want to talk to the police.

    Sgt. Randy Shaw
    Stafford County, Virginia
  • kids playing quickball

    The Badges for Baseball program has yielded results that were unforeseen.  The relationships made will be lifelong and the Green Bay Police Department is eager to continue on with the program.

    Officer Kevin Warych
    Green Bay Police Department
  • kids, baseball glove on head

    This CRSF camp trip was packed with “first’s” for most of the members that joined me: it was the first time these members traveled out of state and for some, the first time at a baseball camp. Although the camp was loaded with memories, what stuck with my group of boys the most was the bonding they had with our roommates after all the activities were done.

    BJ Kolb
    Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay
  • kids with cops

    I can remember back to my first day in the Badges for Baseball program. The police officers were amazing, coming out to all the practices and games. They had a big influence on me, and because of them, I am now studying to become a police officer at Fox Valley Tech in Appleton, Wisconsin. It wouldn’t have been possible without Badges for Baseball. 

    Alex Steward
    Former Badges for Baseball Participant
  • cop with four kids

    I have seen students come out of their shells, they are answering questions, they are building relationships with police officers and it is a very positive program in the schools.

    Tricia Winkler
    Principal, Lima South Science-Technology Magnet
  • kids, joyous arms raised

    Although our gym can be quite chaotic during the Badges for Baseball program, it has been rewarding to see the kids practice sportsmanship and leadership during games. I've had multiple students ask me, ‘Can we come back every day?’ It's questions like those that make all the chaos worthwhile.

    Carrie Marsh
    Mentor, Y of Central Maryland
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  • Pat Tracey

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  • Jefferson Montessori Academy

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  • Sarge Reynolds

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