MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, shown April 15, 2015, revealed the partnership with the Players Alliance on Monday during a news conference at Coors Field, the site of the 2021 All-Star Game. File Photo by Lori Shepler/UPI | License Photo
July 12 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball has pledged up to $150 million to the Players Alliance, a non-profit organization created last year that consists of active and former big league players "aiming to build more equitable systems in baseball and increase Black representation throughout the sport."
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the commitment and partnership shortly before Monday night's Home Run Derby at a news conference at Coors Field, the site of the 2021 All-Star Game.
Starting in 2023, the league said it will provide an annual $10 million over a 10-year period, plus an additional $5 million in matching contributions from external Players Alliance fundraising efforts.
The partnership represents the largest financial commitment in MLB history toward the goal of improving Black diversity throughout the sport, both on the field and in leadership positions.
"Major League Baseball is thrilled to expand our commitment to the Players Alliance, which will include joint efforts to strengthen our sport's engagement with Black communities," Manfred said. "We believe in the mission of the Players Alliance and have been inspired by the passion and perspectives of the players who are leading this effort.
"We know that our sport is at its best when it is accessible to everyone. Together, we will make this a reality with innovative and collaborative programs."
The funds will go toward various programs, including those designed to support baseball in public and city schools. Other programs are aimed at increasing Black youth participation in the sport, as well as funding leagues, equipment, tournaments and clinics.
The money also will go toward providing educational grants, scholarships and additional community services.
"Major League Baseball's commitment to support the Players Alliance is a monumental turning point in the history of our game, establishing a pathway to progress for equity and access for the Black community," Curtis Granderson, president of the Players Alliance, said in a statement.
"On behalf of our player members and allies, we'd like to thank Commissioner Manfred and all MLB club owners for their unwavering support of our efforts to grow and diversify our sport, from the field to the front office, for generations to come."
The Players Alliance is composed of 143 current and former MLB players. The organization has donated more than $41 million to Black communities to help create an inclusive culture in baseball.
Cleveland Indians' Shane Bieber delivers a pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Tuesday. The Indians won 10-1. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo