Mud Hens, Gladieux share successWritten by Christine Senack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As a nonprofit organization, the Toledo Mud Hens go beyond a commitment to victory in the ballpark. They are a community partner who works to make a positive difference throughout the region.
“For every home run hit at Fifth Third Field, the Mud Hens try to hit as many home runs for the Toledo community,” said Cheri Pastula, community relations manager.
Among the many efforts of the “Helping Hens” community programs is Muddy’s Knothole Club. The Mud Hens have developed partnerships with local businesses to provide tickets to underprivileged children from Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. The club was revived three years ago and has given more than 7,000 tickets to kids, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to feel the fun and excitement of a professional baseball game. One member of the Knothole Club is the Associated General Contractors of Northwest Ohio. Also a supporter of the professional sports team, Bill Brennan, president, said he believes it is important to support the charity work of Mud Hens.
“It is heartwarming. Every year we get letters from kids and schools. It makes you feel good to know how the experience of going to a game benefits them,” he said.
Another outreach program affiliated with the Mud Hens is the Gene Cook Foundation Baseball Camp. The camp, created in memory of the former Mud Hens general manager, provides opportunities to children ages 6 to 13 without the financial means to attend a baseball camp. Hosted at Fifth Third Field, Mud Hens players teach baseball basics to 100 campers and share skills in hitting, fielding, pitching and base running. The camp was founded by Cook’s family and friends to help youth participate in and learn through athletics.
At the stadium, sales of concession food and beverages provide a way for other nonprofit groups to join in the success. V/Gladieux Enterprises is the official food and beverage operator for Fifth Third Field, and they have created an exciting way for organizations to raise funds. V/Gladieux offers hardworking and enthusiastic volunteers the opportunity serve at the stadium’s concession stands and receive a donation from the company to their charity.
In return for covering 10 games with at least eight volunteers, organizations receive 9 percent of net food sales and 8 percent of net alcohol sales. Groups capable of providing more than 20 volunteers and making a commitment to more games reap greater rewards for their causes.
V/Gladieux’s Craig Nelson calls this a win-win opportunity for his company and the charity.
“It is a fun way for an organization to raise money and is different from selling candy, food and other merchandise as a fundraiser,” he said. “These organizations help us by providing quality workers.”
Nelson said it takes approximately 350 workers to staff the concession stands for a game and 300 of them are volunteers.
A community group that will man one of largest stands for more than 10 games this season is the Toledo Metropolitan Rowing Club. The club fundraising chair, Mike Meyers, said he sees that the volunteers appreciate the camaraderie.
“As a club we are enthusiastic about it,” he said. “We enjoy the crowds and being at the game. We all work together, and it has been financially rewarding.”
Last year, the rowing club worked more than 12 games and earned a donation of approximately $8,200 from V/Gladieux, making it their largest fundraiser.
Since 2002, through its fundraising opportunity at Fifth Third Field, V/Gladieux has donated more than $971,000 to local nonprofit groups. They will hit the $1 million mark by mid-season this year.
- Helping Hens: To find out more about the outreach and fundraising programs of the Toledo Mud Hens, visit mudhens.com and click on the “Helping Hens” image on the left side of the page.
- Concession Stand Fundraising: To discover the details about nonprofit fundraising opportunities through concession stand volunteer work with V/Gladieux at Fifth Third Field, visit mudhens.com/info/
Christine Senack is a Toledo-based consultant helping people and businesses to develop strategies for philanthropy and community relationships. She can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com or (419) 297-3047.