The Reds Community Fund is committed to helping the lives of the youth in Cincinnati by using the tradition of the Reds franchise and the game of baseball. The Reds Community Fund was established in 2001 as a nonprofit organization that creates programs to connect underprivileged children with the games of baseball and softball, while also creating fundraising programs that connect baseball with the community. No matter if it’s through renovating fields, providing opportunities for kids with disabilities to play or financially supporting inner-city teams the Reds Community Fund is dedicated to improving the lives of children through baseball.
Field Renovation and Community Makeover: The Reds Community Fund has been financially supporting renovations to youth baseball fields since 2006. The Community Makeover is designed to bring some of Cincinnati’s most iconic institutions together with local communities to strengthen youth baseball programs throughout the Cincinnati area. P&G, the Cincinnati Zoo and Cincinnati Children’s have all partnered with the Reds Community Fund to make the renovations possible.
Reds Rookie Success League:
The Reds have run a free summer baseball program since 2003. In fact, the Reds Rookie Success League was the Reds original outreach program to allow children to build character and learn to love baseball.
Reds Youth Baseball Funding: The Reds are funding equipment for local inner-city youth baseball programs. The Reds Community Fund began this initiative in 2005 by funding Knothole baseball organizations. In 2019, the Reds expanded the program to reach more than 60 organizations while financially assisting more than 800 teams.
Virtual Fun At Bat: The Reds and USA Baseball have come together to create a program for kids to enhance their bat and ball skills at home. The program has an emphasis on character development, functional movement, literacy, active play and fun. The goal of the program is to allow the kids to have fun, while also teaching them the fundamentals of baseball and softball.
Match Program: This program was created to bring youth baseball teams from the suburbs and inner city together to try and encourage diversity and friendly competition.
Rick Steiner Celebrity Poker Tournament: Fans get a chance to play poker alongside Reds players with money on the line. Each table of ten features at least one Reds player, current or former. If you knock out the player you get an autographed jersey from the player.
Fans gather for a Reds Bingo night where they have a chance to win special Reds prizes and there are special appearances from a few Reds players.
Marty Brennaman Golf Classic:
The Reds Hall of Fame broadcaster hosts a golf tournament, which is a two day event and features a round of golf, dinner and a comedy show.
A Night of Their Own:
A ladies only event in which fans get a unique experience playing games at Great American Baseball Park. Attendees participate in baseball skills stations, broadcaster opportunities, dinner and more.
The Redlegs run features a 10k, 5k, One-Mile Family Run and a Kids Fun Run where participants receive a T-shirt, a medal, a post-race party and a game ticket.
Charity Block Party: The Charity Block Party happens every Reds Opening Day. Reds Country descends upon The Banks for a block party, which has live music, entertainment, food and beverages available for everyone to enjoy.
Interview with Charley Frank, Executive Director of Cincinnati Reds Community Fund
Please introduce yourself and describe your role with the Cincinnati Reds organization?
Charley Frank: I am the Executive Director of the Reds Community Fund. The Reds Community Fund was founded back in 2001, and I was the first full time employee, as opposed to community board member volunteer when I arrived in 2004.
What is the goal of the Reds Community Fund?
Charley Frank: We are somewhat unique in that we do not have a half a dozen different projects and priorities we really focus on on one thing with the Community Fund and that is baseball and softball oriented. You know the crisis in the baseball industry right now is that there’s not enough of a younger audience and you know a lot of the minority communities have lost touch with the game, so our focus is to change that. Ultimately, though, we have made a decision that we are about youth development. Our biggest goal is getting kids to college or getting kids into the workforce or getting kids into the military, with confidence and with success. No matter what age the kids come through our doors our goal is going to be to create Major League citizens.
What age groups do the Reds Community Fund mainly focus on?
Charley Frank: We really focus on three specific areas of the game. We have you know the introductory level so we want to educate kids about the game, and then we have that intermediate level, which is what we call the developmental level that’s what we’re getting kids more from the just general exposure onto teams and and starting to get them connected, and then the the third bucket, the more advanced bucket is where we try to elevate skill.
How does the Community Fund support teams around the Cincinnati area?
Charley Frank: This year will be supporting over 300 teams that includes high school teams that includes Junior High teams that includes about 20 RBI teams that we operate ourselves year round. So sort of our Pinnacle are those RBI teams they use our youth academy year round. They get everything from training seminars to ACT prep. Now the next step down for us is our junior RBI we call our Joe Morgan program. Those kids are playing for organizations that we support, but we don’t operate those teams. Then the next layer down from that is we call our Reds Youth baseball network, and we support about 50 organizations in that program that have several hundred teams, total. Those are a bit more transactional, you know we meet with them once a year. We provide funding for needs such as uniforms, equipment, umpires, league fees, and things like that.