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BIGGER THAN BASEBALL: Creating Major League Communities

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Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation

Non-profit organization

Through Dodgers Dreamfields, we create vibrant spaces for communities to play and provide ample opportunities for community involvement at these sites. Through Dodgers RBI program, we aim to increase participation in baseball/softball by utilizing fitness clinics, baseball/softball clinics, mini festivals and MORE! We are confident that we will create access for over 310,000 youth this year alone, along with their families across 50 Dreamfields and 85 baseball/softball locations in the LA area.

What does your organization do?

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) is the official team charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers.LADF works to significantly impact underserved youth in the most challenged neighborhoods of LA.

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Dreamfields: City of Compton Parks and Recreation Department Kershaw's Challenge Easterseals Southern California City of Fontana Department of Community Services Security Benefit LA84 Foundation Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation San Manuel Band of Mission Indians RBI: Bank of America 99 Cents Only Stores ARCO California Resources Corp & IBEW Local LA Los Angeles County of Public Works and iHeartMedia Helen and Will Webster Foundation LA84 Foundation Los Angeles Department of Water and Power California Masonic Foundation Under Armor Freedom Initiative UCLA Health Program Partners Gatorade Subway KIND SNACKS Read Conmigo Vision to Learn Lakers Youth Foundation University of Southern California Loyola Marymount University California State University Los Angeles Pepperdine University Positive Coaching Alliance Up2Us Sports State Farm League Apps EL1 Pitch in For Baseball/Softball Affiliate Partners City of Compton Parks and Recreation Department Boys and Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley City of Hawthorne Recreation & Community Service Department YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles City of Lynwood Recreation and Community Services Department City of Inglewood Parks, Recreation and Library Services Department City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation, & Marine City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation Easy County Community Services Agency County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation South County Community Services Agency Hollywood Indies Little League (HILL) Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club MLB Youth Academy in Compton

Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

A story from RBI Coach Clemente Arrizon from Lincoln Park Recreation Center:

“I had a young man who played baseball here go through some hard times. During his baseball season, his mother passed away. I got the call from his grandma during one of his practices and she was coming to pick him up. I brought him to the office with his grandma and we were able to talk together. The young man was sad, obviously. He cried but before he left to go be with his grandma, I told them to come back to the practice and games. There’s a lot of gangs in our neighborhood, and I knew that this kid needed to stay involved. The team, the coach, and the structure helped him get through a hard time and stay safe. The park became his second home and it really, in my eyes, saved his life. I think that the Dodgers Foundation, the Dodgers Organization, all these sponsors…. they really need to know that. I know they cut a check and help communities, but they need to know that they are saving lives. I want to let them know that. You drive by from Monday to Saturday and the entire park is Dodger blue. The department of recreation and parks and management believe in me. With their support and Dodgers RBI we save lives, guide kids to college and make our community safer. But most importantly, Dodgers RBI gives us the opportunity to turn the T-Ball and Coach pitch players into responsible teens and it gives the minors, majors, junior baseball and girls softball players the opportunity to become responsible adults”.

Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

How will your project make LA the best place to play?

From 2014-2019, both Dreamfields and RBI programs have grown substantially within the LA community, from serving 2,700 RBI participants (2014) to 9,300 participants (2018) and refurbishing 50 Dreamfields across LA. LADF promotes play to a level that has increased access to parks, enrollment of kids in after-school programs, and increased opportunities for inter-generational play in LA. LADF has responded to the lack of LA park space in large urban zones by completing 50 Dodgers Dreamfields in some of the most underserved communities across LA. By doing so, we have created access for over 300,000 youth. LADF will not stop and recently committed to completing 50 additional Dreamfields by 2033 which will significantly impact PLAY in LA and help commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Dodgers historic move to LA. This year, we will refurbish Dreamfields 51, 52, and 53. Our 51st Dreamfield will be designed for youth with special needs at Jack Bulik Park, located in the City of Fontana, an area in the Inland Empire that serves 3,000+ special needs children. This universally accessible field will meet the needs of individuals with both mental and physical disabilities. Dreamfields 52 and 53 will be located at Gonzales Park in Compton. With a 10,397-youth population and a poverty level of 26.60% refurbishing Gonzales Park can help increase park access and contribute to positively community outcomes. By refurbishing Jackie Robinson Stadium, this will help commemorate the 100th birthday of this remarkable baseball legend.

In 2019, LADF will serve over 10,500 youth in our RBI program, across 85 locations and in collaboration with 13 affiliate partners. This year, there will be significant growth in East Los Angeles and Long Beach and the City of Compton Parks and Recreation will join RBI with a total of 360 participants, ages 5-15 across 8 locations. We also anticipate growth in teams at additional locations throughout South Los Angeles. LADF has placed emphasis on growing girls’ participation in the sport by adding more softball teams throughout the program, creating more opportunities to play. On average, girls’ participation in RBI grows by a rate of 49% each year. In 2019, the RBI softball program will expand from 92 teams to 126 teams. This does not include the estimated 2,000 girls ages 5-12 that will play baseball in a co-ed format. Creating space for young women to play softball amongst their peers can be a valuable and empowering development zone, especially when coupled with a positive female coach/role model. Finally, RBI will partner with Up2Us Sports to implement trauma informed workshops to assist coaches positively engage with youth in low income communities who may experience stress and trauma. By providing these workshops LADF is attempting to help youth thrive in their environment regardless of the negative behaviors they may experience, ultimately ensuring that even the most vulnerable communities are ready to PLAY in LA.

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Lateral application (testing feasibility of a proven action/solution to a new issue or sector)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

LADF administers a comprehensive evaluation system for both Dreamfields and RBI, which provide direct insight on participants’ experiences, program elements, and community needs. LADF gathers qualitative data by conducting pre and post interviews, surveys, and focus groups with program participants, partners, volunteers, and community members. By doing so, LADF evaluates their programs and activations. This year the Hello Insight Sports Tool will be fully implemented to youth ages 9-18 at all RBI locations in Los Angeles. Hello Insight Sports Tool, is a youth development tool designed to help organizations evaluate social and emotional learning (SEL) amongst their youth. Last year, the sports tool was administered to Dodgers RBI players ages 9-18 at seven pilot locations. The tool focuses on development in the areas of: Academic Self-Efficacy, Contribution, Goal Orientation, Positive Identity, Self-Confidence, Self-Management, Social Capital, Social Connections, and Social Skills. The tool will allow Dodgers RBI staff to have instant access to the program’s aggregated data to make data informed decisions about resources and training interventions for coaches and staff that can positively affect youth development outcomes.

Additionally, LADF will continue to measure the impact of the Dodgers Dreamfields program by selecting Dreamfield sites based on the following criteria: High need for youth baseball/softball recreation space, racial diversity, high park need metric, amount of youth living in the surrounding community, and current baseball/softball popularity and participation rates.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Access to LA2050 community
  • Host public events on the topic your organization’s issue area (e.g. access to capital, education reform, clean energy, etc.)
  • Communications support, including traditional media, social media, and LA2050 newsletter
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Strategy assistance and implementation