When Roger Dean Stadium, now the Spring Training home of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, opened on March 1, 1998 in Jupiter, Florida, the event represented more to Palm Beach and Martin Counties than just a new venue in which to watch Major League Baseball.
The Marlins - who replaced the Montreal Expos as co-tenants of the stadium in 2003 – and the Cardinals have continued to play an active role in the local community throughout the years through both baseball and non-sport related endeavors. The Cardinals/Marlins Fund seeks to provide financial assistance to local non-profit organizations that encourage the participation of young people in sports and other physical fitness activities.
When the Cardinals and Expos first moved to Jupiter in 1998, both clubs expressed an immediate interest in playing an important role in the community’s well-being.
“Palm Beach County arranged the financing for us to build this wonderful facility,” said Cardinals President Bill DeWitt Jr. “We wanted to reciprocate by creating a not-for-profit foundation.”
The Cardinals/Marlins Fund was initially endowed by the teams with a contribution of $12,000, representing the proceeds of the first exhibition game at the stadium (Cardinals vs. Expos). The teams have continued to increase contributions and now combine to distribute close to $40,000 each year.
The Advisory Board of the Cardinals/Marlins Fund has adopted the following Mission Statement:
“It is the mission of the Cardinals/Marlins Fund to provide financial assistance to sports and community service non-profit organizations in Palm Beach and Martin Counties so that young people may participate in baseball, sports programs and physical fitness activities.”
The Advisory Board
Once the Cardinals/Marlins Fund was in place, the teams appointed an advisory board of community leaders and team officials to oversee all activities and serve as a liaison to the community. Included among the original board members was Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock and Expos Hall of Famer – and Palm Beach Gardens resident – the late Gary Carter.
The advisory board is charged with establishing the guidelines, policies and parameters for the two major functions of the Fund: fundraising and grant awards.
The Fund Today
A large number of the programs, activities and promotions held at Roger Dean Stadium throughout the year, especially during Spring Training, are designed to benefit the Cardinals/Marlins Fund.
From PA announcements during all games to charity softball events, silent auctions and even in-game birthday recognitions, Roger Dean Stadium is dedicated to promoting the Fund and gathering as many resources as possible.
“I’m proud to work with the Cardinals, the Marlins and the Advisory Board to help improve the lives of our neighbors,” said Roger Dean Stadium General Manager Mike Bauer. “We’re presented with the unique opportunity to reach thousands of people every day at the games, so it’s important to make the most of it.”
Every Effort Counts
The Cardinals/Marlins Fund is designed to help make important lifelong impact on those in our midst who deserve every opportunity for personal growth but may lack the direction and support that specific programs can provide.
Everyone Deserves a Chance to Play
The Cardinals/Marlins Fund is designed to promote sports and physical fitness as these activities provide lifelong benefits to young people. Special consideration is given to baseball and to organizations that support the underserved members of the community. Giving someone 'the opportunity to participate when they otherwise might be unable to' is a top priority for the Cardinals/Marlins Fund.
The Board has provided more than $225,000 to local programs since 1998 thanks to a wide range of activities and promotions, but nothing compares to the individual contributions by baseball fans who visit Roger Dean Stadium each year.
If you know of an organization that can benefit from the Cardinals/Marlins fund, please visit www.RogerDeanStadium.com and print out the Grant Application Form. Once completed, send the form to Lynn Besaw at Roger Dean Stadium using the address provided.
To Make a Donation
Whether it’s donating money, time or other resources, every amount of dedication toward the Cardinals/Marlins Fund is appreciated. More information on how to donate can be found by calling the main stadium office at (561) 775-1818.
RDSAB Grant Award Criteria
- Application filled out clearly and completely
- Application submitted on time
- How closely does the applicaton match the mission statement?
- Viability of the group as a community service or sports non-profit organization / Schools are generally not to be considered unless the Board considers the situation unique
- Need of people impacted / Underserved group - those that might not get an opportunity otherwise - should receive preference
- In terms of the activity itself, baseball should be given top priority. Followed by team sports and then other physical fitness activities
- Quantity of people impacted
- Overall funding
- How critical is the grant to this particular program?
- Are CMF dollars being used to replace those of a more appropriate funding source?
- Does the organization exhibit adequate fundraising and budget management?