The White Sox established the first of its kind Volunteer Corps in 2009. The concept behind the Corps is to provide community service projects and opportunities while mobilizing fans, players and team personnel to take part and lend a hand at these events. Since the program's inception, more than 6,750 fans, players, coaches and club executives have taken part in one of the many projects, helping underserved Chicagoans in need.
The Volunteer Corps has logged more than 27,000 hours of service, engaged more than 6,600 volunteers in service and provided more than $562,000 in valuation of labor (based on U.S. Department of Labor calculation).
Throughout the past five years, members of the White Sox Volunteer Corps have participated in a variety of service-oriented events. From the renovation of local schools, to the construction of a new playground, to updating the park district baseball fields near U.S. Cellular Field, the members of the Volunteer Corps continuously lend a hand throughout the Chicagoland community.
In September of 2012, the White Sox Volunteer Corps program was honored as a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy. The award celebrates and promotes those in sports who are improving lives of others by leveraging the unique influence of sports. It was the second national award bestowed on the programs, as the Corps was also recognized with the 2011 Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence, which was created to ercognize outstanding community efforts of an MLB Club.
"While we are not in this for awards, we are honored to be recognized for our work in this area and will continue to encourage our fans and other supporters to be local change makers through their community service," said Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the White Sox. "These awards will be housed at U.S. Cellular Field, but it truly belongs to the fans and volunteers who have consistently donated their time and energy into helping make our local community a better place."
As the White Sox Volunteer Corps completes their work for the 2013 season, renewed partnerships with local non-profit organizations, in combination with the community resolve of fans, allowed thousands of Chicagoans in need to benefit, yet again, from the Corps' work.
MLK Service Day
Volunteer Corps members joined over 500 local volunteers in completing restoration and beautification projects including wall painting, murals and construction at Jean De Lafayette Elementary School in Humboldt Park as part of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and National Day of Service.
Chicago Special Olympics 45th Annual Spring Games Opening Ceremonies
Volunteers Corps members had the opportunity to be team escorts for the parade of athletes during the Opening Ceremony and to assist with lunch distribution to the athletes.
Day of Service with City Year Chicago
Nearly 300 Volunteer Corps members transformed Park Manor Elementary in Chicago's Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. Volunteers were joined by White Sox team members, coach Don Cooper and broadcaster Darrin Jackson as they painted, landscaped and completed construction projects.
Greater Chicago Food Depository Food Repacks
Members of the White Sox Volunteer Corps participate in food repacking sessions at the Greater Chicago Food Depository throughout the year.
KaBOOM! Playground Build
In partnership with KaBOOM! and the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, Volunteer Corps members built a playground at the Kroc Center to help provide a safe play space for children in the community.
Constellation Park Clean-Up
Constellation employees and White Sox personnel spent a day doing light landscape work in the playground at McGuane Park near U.S. Cellular Field.
FirstMerit Bank Bike Build
In partnership with FirstMerit Bank, members of the Volunteer Corps built bicycles for children served by a local social service agency. Volunteers were joined by former White Sox greats Ron Kittle, Bill Melton along with mascot Southpaw.
Chicago Housing Authority
The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago White Sox partnered to host a Back to School bash for 400 CHA children ages 5-12. Volunteer Corps members helped by directing the children when they arrive at the event, assisted with lunch distribution and then passed out backpacks filled with supplies to each child.
A Fisher House is "a home away from home" for family members, caregivers or loved ones of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Volunteer Corps members spent time helping with general cleanup work inside the house and gardening outside.