BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — With a crack of the bat, youth baseball season kicked off on Saturday with Amazon donating nearly a million dollars to youth sports teams and organizations across the Commonwealth.
The company announced they were going to invest in eight Massachusetts communities: Boston, Haverhill, Lawrence, Lynnfield, Milford, Revere, Salem, and Worcester. Within those areas, funds were granted to youth leagues in a variety of sports.
One of the recipients was South End Baseball, a non-profit organization that had its Opening Day Parade on Saturday.
“With the pandemic essentially shutting down our fundraising efforts over the last two years, the company’s generosity is making a world of difference in our ability to keep the league’s operations running and funding our Hugh Chambers/Paul Rinkulis college scholarship program, which helps deserving players pursue their educational goals," said President of SEB's Board of Directors and longtime coach Pete Shults.
Amazon says the donation came as a response to survey data from State of Play 2021 that shows the pandemic has taken a toll on youth sports participation.
Company officials say that according to national research by the Aspen Institute, thirteen percent of youth sports parents said their community-based sports provider closed due to COVID-19, and another twelve percent said it had merged with another organization.
“We care about the communities in which we operate and live. We’ve seen the power of youth sports to build character and make a positive impact on our children and our communities. That’s why Amazon is thrilled to be able to invest in the health and well-being of young people in Boston and beyond,” said Amazon’s Head of Community Engagement for New England Jerome Smith.
WBZ's Mike Macklin reports.