In 1997 Commissioner Allan H (Bud) Selig stated that, "Major League Baseball has been looking at the best ways to prepare for the 21st century and fortify our relationship with youth" as he announced the selection of Boys & Girls Clubs of America as the official charity of Major League Baseball.
Since that designation, Major League Baseball and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have established more than 100 new RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) leagues, more than 200 Rookie Leagues (machine-pitch instructional programs) and increased exposure for B&GCA through Major League Baseball produced print, radio and television public service advertising campaigns. The partnership, which included a donation of $2.5 million by Major League Baseball, resulted in more than $16 million in direct and indirect support for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
While B&GCA is Major League Baseball's official charity, individual teams and players have and continue to work with their local Boys & Girls Clubs. The national partnership has given more children the chance to realize their dreams both on and off the field.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a national network of more than 3,700 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving 4.4 million young people primarily from disadvantaged circumstances, in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands plus domestic and international military bases. Known as the "Positive Place for Kids," the Clubs provide character development programs on a daily basis, conducted by full and part-time trained professional staff and volunteers.
Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize educational achievement, career exploration, drug and alcohol avoidance, health and fitness, gang and violence prevention, cultural enrichment, leadership development and community service. Current and former Major League Baseball players who grew up at local Boys & Girls Club include Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, and Hall of Famers Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson.