Baltimore — The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation (CRSF) announced a partnership with Shaw Sports Turf, naming the Calhoun, Ga., manufacturer the exclusive provider of synthetic turf for its Youth Development Parks initiative. The partnership officially commenced at the annual Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation Aspire Gala, which raised $2.3 million in one night for Ripken Foundation programs.
“The Ripken name is associated with excellence, and Shaw Sports Turf is a world-class manufacturer with those same values,” said Steve Salem, president of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. “Working together, we will be able to provide top-quality, safe environments for at-risk youth and communities in-need throughout the country.”
The goal of the Youth Development Park initiative is to develop several unique, multi-purpose, low maintenance fields with synthetic turf that will provide a cohesive recreational and educational experience for underserved young people across the United States. Upon completion of the project, the parks are gifted to a trusted youth-serving organization or local municipality so the children have access, ownership, and pride for their park.
“We use baseball as a hook to get in front of kids and help build character and teach critical life lessons,” said Cal Ripken Jr. “Allowing kids to play on world-class fields like those made by Shaw Sports Turf just makes it easier to accomplish that mission.”
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation continues to have a presence at each of the completed parks, where they create and implement character education programming and clinics, including Badges for Baseball, a multi-faceted mentoring program that partners with local law enforcement as coaches and mentors to at-risk youth.
“We are honored to partner with such a worthwhile charitable organization and people who truly care about the kids they serve,” said Phil Barlow, vice president of Shaw Sports Turf. “We are looking forward to seeing the impact that our Shaw Sports Turf fields will have throughout the country because of the Ripken Foundation’s efforts.”
The Youth Development Parks initiative, which Shaw Sports Turf will be a part of, has completed 18 parks in 10 states, with an additional 23 fields in development and fundraising phases throughout the country. The goal of the foundation is to complete 50 parks by 2015.