When it comes to charitable giving the Kane County Cougars are not only among league leaders, the organization is one of the most generous in the country.
As the Geneva-based Class A baseball team opens their 2018 season this week at Geneva’s Northwestern Medicine Field, a report from Minor League Baseball Charities ranked the Cougars sixth in giving among 160 teams.
“It’s a great accomplishment, sixth among 160 Minor League teams around the country,” Curtis Haug, Cougars vice president and general manager said last week. “It’s just awesome for the organization, it’s awesome for the county, it’s awesome for the community.
“It’s something we work hard at and we’re very determined to keep going.”
The Cougars gave $949,926 in direct charitable giving and in-kind contributions in 2017. This season, Kane County is aiming for the fences, The goal is a cool $1 million in charity fundraising.
This season’s efforts center around their “Million Smiles” campaign.
Fundraising will again include sale of 50-50 raffle tickets at each game, with half the proceeds going to a individual winner and the balance to one of four designated charities.
This year’s raffle beneficiaries include :
- Aurora’s Mutual Ground, which provides help for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse,
- CASA Kane County, a non-profit that advocates in the court system for abused and neglected children,
- Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Geneva-based service that offers food for 71,000 people each week,
- BraveHearts for Kids, which helps children diagnosed with pediatric cancer and their families.
In addition, Loaves and Fishes, a Naperville-based agency that offers groceries and support services to more than 2,000 families each month, will benefit from the Cougars’ Pitch for Charity promotion which is featured on fireworks nights.
The Cougars also raise money for charity through as fans purchase legacy bricks outside Northwestern Medicine Field, registering for a May 19 Cougars 5-K run or by selecting the Kane County Cougars Foundation as a favorite charity on AmazonSmiles.
“I am very proud of the lengths which our Minor League Baseball teams go to give back to their local communities, as the Kane County Cougars have now publicly pledged to do at an extraordinary level,” said Pat O’Connor, Minor League Baseball president and CEO in a statement. “Should the Cougars reach this ambitious goal, they will certainly be one of the most charitable of Minor League Baseball’s 160 teams and I commend them for their efforts.”
In a recent report from Minor League Baseball Charities, the nation’s 160 minor league teams collectively gave nearly $40 million in cash and in-kind donations, the highest ever.
Kane County is a member of the 17-team Midwest League which reported 2017 charity contributions of $5,374,480. The Fort Wayne Tincaps led the league with $950,896 in giving, just ahead of the Cougars.
The Cougars, now in their 28th season in Geneva, are affiliated with Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, which provide players and on-field staff.
Last week’s home season-opening series with Clinton was wiped out by wintery weather. So the Cougars will try again on Friday when they host Beloit at 6:30 p.m. to kick off a three-game weekend set.
–Kane County Cougars want to give $1 million to local charities this season–