Members of Congress weren’t the only ones with baseball uniforms after last year’s Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, one of the two longtime beneficiaries of the game’s fundraising efforts, spent its money on baseball uniforms, sports equipment and field upkeep.
Kerrin Torres, communications specialist for the club, said it raised $25,000 last year, up $5,000 from 2004. Torres attributes the increase to the organizers’ decision to move the game from Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md., to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Southeast Washington, D.C.
“Yes, we benefited from the game being at RFK,” she said. “Our base of support is in the District. We need more signage at RFK and name recognition, but other than that it was a good venue to move to.”
“Moving it back into DC helped to raise the game’s profile and draw new spectators,” the Democratic manager Rep. Martin Sabo (Minn.) said in a statement.
Last year’s game raised $125,000, approximately $25,000 more than other recent games. In addition to the money handed to the Boys & Girls Clubs, the teams donated $75,000 to the Washington Literacy Council and $25,000 to the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission for community outreach.
The WLC is excited to be participating yet again, according to Executive Director Elisabeth Liptak, who said her program has been receiving funds from the game for “over a decade.”
“We outfitted a proper classroom this year,” she said. “People used to just sit around a table.”
Liptak said the game, along with raising awareness of the WLC, helps support the programs by providing funding for supplies.
“We have nearly 200 students in our program each year and nearly that many tutors we train and support,” she added. In addition to the new classroom, last year’s efforts went to new materials and computer software, which Liptak said has “been a great addition to the program this year.”
While Liptak can’t say for sure the change of venue increased donations, she said: “From what we saw it definitely seemed to generate more interest, and it was exciting to be at RFK.”
She added although there is no exact way to determine how many additional donations the program receives as a result of the publicity provided by the game, “there’s a lot of awareness that’s generated each year [we participate] and that has far reaching implications.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.