It’s More Than a Game: New Rogers fundraising campaign in support of Jays Care Foundation helps Rookie League create young leaders beyond the ballpark
Rookie League brings baseball and mentorship to 14,000 Canadian kids
Programs run in partnership with Toronto Community Housing, Indigenous communities, and Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada
Canadians can help send more kids to summer camp by donating in Rogers retail stores or online
TORONTO, March 31, 2021 – As Blue Jays fans across Canada eagerly anticipate the start of the 2021 season, Rogers Communications today announced the launch of a new fundraising campaign in support of Jays Care Foundation’s Rookie League program, which helps kids facing barriers develop important life skills, while building confidence, resilience, and having fun. Starting today and running through the end of the year, the new fundraising campaign called “It’s More Than a Game” makes it easy for Canadians to support Rookie League and foster lasting social change in communities across Canada.
With more than a million Canadian children living in low-income households, Rookie League programs help remove financial barriers and create opportunities to ensure all youth can access programs like this. Rookie League uses the power of baseball and the appeal of the Toronto Blue Jays to help empower youth facing barriers become leaders beyond the ballpark.
As Jays Care Foundation’s largest funding partner, Rogers has provided more than $10 million to the foundation’s youth programs over the last decade. Now, Canadians can easily donate in a number of ways, including online, as an add-to-cart option at Today’s Shopping Choice (TSC), or at select Rogers store locations across Canada.
Jays Care’s Rookie League program is delivered to more than 14,000 Canadian children and youth across 10 provinces and two territories, in partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs, Indigenous organizations, and Toronto Community Housing. The summer camp programs, in-person or now held virtually for the second year in a row, are delivered by teen and adult staff trained by Jays Care Foundation and offered to youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in camps or sport due to socio-economic or geographical barriers.
This fundraising initiative to support Rookie League is part of a longstanding partnership between Rogers and Jays Care Foundation. In 2020, the partnership supported virtual summer camps for youth, built and refurbished Canadian baseball diamonds as part of Field Of Dreams, distributed more than a thousand adaptive home baseball kits for youth with disabilities enrolled in Challenger Baseball, awarded almost 60 Ted Rogers Scholarships for Jays Care-nominated youth since 2017, and last summer’s Step Up to the Plate food hamper initiative and donations provided 9 million meals for food banks across Canada.
“The social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for kids and families facing barriers across the country. At Jays Care, we are deeply committed to supporting these families through providing best-in-class sport for development programming that removes social isolation and keeps kids physically active. With the backing of our incredible partners, we are looking forward to a great year of Rookie League as we continue to strive towards our vision of a level playing field for all children and youth across Canada.”
- Jules Porter, Director of Programs, Jays Care Foundation
“Rookie League programs ensure thousands of Canadian youth can participate in fun, interactive, and empowering programs designed for their well-being and development. Every young person deserves the chance to connect with trusted mentors and each other – especially now. Rogers is proud to use the power of our connections and channels to help make a lasting impact in the lives of youth across the country.”
- Sevaun Palvetzian, Chief Communications Officer and lead for Corporate Responsibility at Rogers
“The Rookie League program, developed in partnership between the Kenora Chiefs Advisory and Jays Care, has had a dramatically positive impact on our entire community, not just the youth. Rooted in Indigenous culture, tradition and ceremony, Rookie League is a true community-builder, bringing together Elders and youth and everyone in between to promote mental health, healing and reconciliation. Recognized by the Assembly of First Nations, the program has expanded into other treaty areas and our dream is the establishment of a National Indigenous Rookie League.”
- Chief Lorraine Cobiness, Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation
“The Rookie League program has had such a positive impact on kids in our community. We’ve seen children gain confidence, develop leadership skills, feel a sense of belonging and take massive strides in reaching their potential through the program. Kids have also been able to build positive relationships with other kids and positive adults. We believe it is vital that more kids across Canada have access to programs like Rookie League”
- Wendy Serink, Executive Director, Fort Saskatchewan Boys and Girls Club, in Alberta
“Last summer, when the pandemic limited the number of kids we could serve in our in-Club day camps, Rookie League’s support enabled us to develop and run free, virtual, and interactive camps for 100 Halifax-area kids. We heard how this program alleviated their feelings of stress and isolation. They were holding dance parties, scavenger hunts, science experiments, and a lot of other engaging activities.”
- Henk van Leeuwen, CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Halifax, in Nova Scotia
“I am thankful for the Rookie League program and everything it has done for me. I was able to meet new people from my community and make new friends. It helped me come out of my shell, be creative, build up communication skills and become more confident in myself. Rookie League has wonderful staff that gives you a place to develop your skills and learn new things you didn’t know about yourself. I learned baseball and other sports which helped me to be more active and believe in myself.”
- Gideon – Rookie Leaguer with Toronto Community Housing
“Being a part of Rookie League has helped me unlock my true leadership potential. It has taught me things I didn’t know I had in me: working together as a team, having fun and playing sports. Rookie League has made a great effort to keep it engaging and fun for me that I want to say thank you. Thank you for making me a better person, being able to learn more about my true self, and being able to show it to the world.”
- Malakai – Rookie Leaguer with Toronto Community Housing
Rogers is a proud Canadian company dedicated to making more possible for Canadians each and every day. Our founder, Ted Rogers, purchased his first radio station, CHFI, in 1960. We have grown to become a leading technology and media company that strives to provide the very best in wireless, residential, sports, and media to Canadians and Canadian businesses. Our shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). If you want to find out more about us, visit about.rogers.com.
About Jays Care Foundation
Jays Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays, uses baseball as a tool to teach life skills and create lasting social change for over 35,000 children and youth across Canada. Jays Care proudly works in all ten provinces and two territories running community programs to level the playing field for Canadian kids facing barriers. The organization has also invested over $10 million through Field Of Dreams to support the building or refurbishment of more than 100 diamonds and recreation spaces. In 2020, Jays Care was awarded MLB’s Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence recognizing the Blue Jays Community Commitment, a $7.5 million COVID-19 response plan that supported those disproportionately affected by the pandemic across Canada.