Youth Sports Pioneer Jerry Ford Continues Mission to Provide Youth from Underserved Populations with a Pathway to Success through the Rise 2 Greatness Foundation
Former Major League Baseball Players and philanthropic leaders CC Sabathia, Luis Gonzalez, Reggie Sanders, and Charles Johnson to serve on the Rise 2 Greatness Board
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (Thursday, May 18, 2023) Jerry Ford, who for more than three decades has been committed to providing baseball and softball playing opportunities for millions of youth, continues his attention to providing youth from underserved populations with a pathway to success through the newly reimagined Rise 2 Greatness Foundation (R2G). R2G is a registered 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that was formerly known as Perfect Game Cares.
The R2G mission is to inspire, support and promote a pathway to success for underserved and poverty-stricken children within America’s most at-risk communities, by providing the needed resources that help them rise to find their individual greatness. R2G will also host events and activities designed to help ignite a passion for baseball and softball in underserved communities through the Jerry Ford Grow the Game Fund.
Jerry Ford will serve on the R2G’s board and be joined by his daughter, Jennifer Ford, who will continue to serve as the nonprofit’s Executive Director and Board Chair.
R2G recently held its first events under its new banner and mission, by hosting free Grow the Game youth baseball/softball camps and caravan visits in Kansas City and Washington D.C.
On May 22, R2G will partner with Sports Facilities Companies to host another kids camp and caravan in conjunction with the Southeastern Conference (SEC) baseball tournament in Hoover, Alabama.
Future high-profile events scheduled include the 2nd Annual R2G Celebrity Softball Game and Grow the Game youth camp on July 29, 2023, in Cedar Rapids, IA; the 3rd Annual R2G Gala on November 17, 2023, and the 4th Annual R2G Fore the Kids Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament on November 18, 2023, both at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, FL. Additional events can be found on the R2G website.
The R2G board of directors reads like a who’s who list of Major League all-stars and includes CC Sabathia, Luis Gonzalez, Charles Johnson, and Reggie Sanders. Also serving on the board are Dustin Shindo, entrepreneur and R2G’s Board Vice Chair, and Eamon Springall, founder of Stitched Lifestyle.
What They’re Saying
Jennifer Ford: “The visionary of our Foundation is Jerry Ford. His desire to level the playing field for underserved children across America while creating fans of the game of baseball has been the cornerstone of our work. Reimagining the foundation as an unaffiliated and independent nonprofit allows us the freedom to work closely with all groups and organizations operating inside and outside the baseball and softball ecosystem to make a substantive difference in the lives of others. The commitment of our board and so many like-minded, generous partners, individuals, and former and current MLB players enable us to serve thousands of children each year. The future is bright at R2G.”
CC Sabathia: “My purpose in life is to give back to the youth in underserved communities. Every child with a love for the game deserves an opportunity to showcase their skills, with access to equipment and coaching like those who are privileged with the opportunity. My mission is to level the playing field for all, R2G’s purpose-driven mission is set to do the same. I’m honored to be a part of the R2G foundation and help support the passion of the Ford Family.”
Luis Gonzalez: “I’m proud and honored to be a part of Rise 2 Greatness, an organization that has a huge impact on the lives and futures of young kids. Rise 2 Greatness levels the playing field for kids who grew up like I did and shows kids that when they work hard, they can be successful too.”
Charles Johnson: “To be a part of a board that thrives on providing lifelong skills to youth in underserved communities is a mission that I support tremendously. I believe it takes teamwork to mentor and empower kids through sports.”
Reggie Sanders: “I am honored and excited to join the Rise 2 Greatness board, where I can leverage my passion and purpose to inspire others to discover and pursue their own. Together we can create a culture of growth and empowerment, where everyone has the opportunity to rise to their fullest potential.”
Dustin Shindo: “Baseball is much more than a game to so many of us. It connects family and friends. It brings joy and memories to so many. Having the opportunity to give back and support the future of baseball is an honor.”
Eamon Springall: “The only thing more gratifying than playing baseball is giving and providing the game to others. I’ve been impressed and had my heart warmed by the works of the Ford family. Their love and passion are infectious and joining the board of directors of Rise 2 Greatness (R2G) is an amazing honor. I look forward to serving our youth and communities through the focused lens of baseball, by teaming with the Ford family, decorated MLB players, and accomplished businesspeople to change the lives of as many as we can reach. Play Ball!”
Rise 2 Greatness Caravan Crew
Below is the list of current and former Major League baseball players who, among others, are active participants in the R2G kids’ caravans and baseball/softball camps.
Luis Alicea, Bo Bichette, Mike Bonwell, Homer Bush, Lou Collier, Johnny Damon, Zach Eflin, Kyle Farnsworth, Ben Ford, Bernard Gilkey, Nick Gordon, Tom Flash Gordon, Elijah Green, Eric Green, Riley Greene, Trevor Hoffman, Clint Hurdle, Bo Jackson, Termarr Johnson, Andruw Jones, Druw Jones, Brian Jordan, Scott Kazmir, Brooks Kieschnick, Ryan Klesko, Dennis Martinez, Tino Martinez, MJ Melendez, Ryan Mountcastle, Tim Redding, Evan Romanchuk, Eric Semler, Gary Sheffield, Kai Souza-Paaluhi, Denard Span, George Springer, Trevor Story, Tanyon Sturtze, Michael Tucker, Greg Vaughn, Preston Wilson, Tony Womack, and Dmitri Young