MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Twins and Major League Baseball today announced the seven finalists for the first-ever "All-Star Fans Choose" grant. Fans can vote now at AllStarGame.com/FansChoose to help award a $500,000 grant to one of seven Upper Midwest non-profit organizations. Voting will run from Tuesday, June 10 through Thursday, July 10 with the winning non-profit being announced during MLB All-Star Week in July.
"We're thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to local non-profits thanks to the generosity of Major League Baseball, the Pohlad Family Foundation and the Minnesota Twins Community Fund," said Bryan Donaldson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. "This is the first time a charity project of this nature has been done in conjunction with the All-Star Game and it's truly unique to put this decision in the fans' hands."
Nearly 100 non-profit groups from Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin applied to be considered for this first-of-its-kind grant. A panel of judges, consisting of representatives from MLB and the Twins, determined the final seven non-profit projects based on the following criteria: impact on community, scope, timeline, environmental improvement, sustainable design, and quality of application.
The "All-Star Fans Choose" grant finalists are:
Camp Fire Minnesota - Chanhassen, Minn.
Mission: To provide young people with the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice and discover who they are through clubs and camp programs.
Project Description: Improve and expand Camp Tanadoona, a 90-year old rustic summer camp in Chanhassen. Improvements include new overnight cabins and a flexible learning space called the Tree House. Each summer more than 1,000 youth visit Camp Tanadoona to explore nature and grow as leaders.
Channel One Regional Food Bank - Rochester, Minn.
Mission: To work in partnership with others to help feed people in need.
Project Description: Add more than 20,000 square feet of warehouse space at their Rochester location and build a kitchen and classroom to better serve and feed people in need. Channel One serves 13 counties in Southeast Minnesota and LaCrosse County in Wisconsin and an average of 100,000 people a year.
Cookie Cart - Minneapolis, Minn.
Mission: To provide teens with lasting and meaningful work, life and leadership skills through experience and training in an urban non-profit bakery.
Project Description: Renovate and reconfigure the current location in North Minneapolis to double the number of teens who participate in employment and training programs. Cookie Cart helps youth gain solid workforce skills, develop positive relationships with adults and peers and exercise critical leadership skills.
Hmong American Farmers Association - Vermillion, Minn.
Mission: To advance the economic, social and cultural prosperity of Hmong American farmers through economic development, capacity building, advocacy and research.
Project Description: Construct a farm in Vermillion Township where Hmong farmers can rent land long-term, learn sustainable agricultural practices, aggregate their produce with other farmers, and learn how to operate and grow a farming business.
Madison Claire Foundation - Woodbury, Minn.
Mission: To enhance the lives of children and families living with physical and developmental disabilities by giving them the opportunity to play alongside others through the creation of a universal playground.
Project Description: Build a fully accessible, inclusive playground where children with disabilities can play alongside all others and disabled parents can play with their children. The project, located at Bielenberg Sports Complex in Woodbury, includes ramped access, specialized equipment and a splash pad.
Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge - St. Michael, Minn.
Mission: To assist teens and adults in gaining freedom from chemical addictions and other life-controlling problems by addressing their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
Project Description: Renovate the former Greenwood Girl Scout Camp north of the Twin Cities for a year-round school for teen boys experiencing problems with drug and alcohol abuse. This will allow for more educational and outdoor activities that are not possible in the current inner-city location.
People Serving People - Minneapolis, Minn.
Mission: To serve homeless children and their families and provide new opportunities for healthy, stable family life.
Project Description: Renovate the kitchen and dining hall at the largest family homeless shelter in Minnesota, located in downtown Minneapolis, to improve safety, sanitation, food recycling, and meal service processes. People Serving People served more than 3,000 guests last year, more than 60 percent of whom were under the age of 18.
The "All-Star Fans Choose" grant is a part of the most extensive legacy giving campaign in All-Star history. On Friday, April 25, the Twins and Major League Baseball announced plans for the 2014 All-Star community legacy efforts, including the contribution of more than $8 million toward local projects and national charitable initiatives. The unprecedented level of giving is possible due to a partnership between MLB Charities, the Twins Community Fund and the Pohlad Family Foundation.