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Yankees in the Community

The Mission

Girardi and President Obama

During an April 26, 2010, White House ceremony honoring the team's 2009 World Series championship, President Barack Obama publicly recognized the Yankees' HOPE Week initiative.

Introduced in 2009 and heading into its seventh year in 2015, the Yankees' HOPE Week initiative (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) is rooted in the fundamental belief that acts of goodwill provide hope and encouragement to more than just the recipient of the gesture.

On each of five consecutive days during the celebration of HOPE Week, the Yankees shine a spotlight on a different individual, family or organization worthy of recognition and support. Each day is designed so honorees can share their inspirational stories with Yankees players, fans and the media, while being surprised with the day of their dreams. Though each day's celebration ultimately culminates with a visit to Yankee Stadium on the day of a game, outreach typically takes place at a location in the community that symbolizes the accomplishments of the honoree.

At its core, HOPE Week is about people helping people. The one thing everybody has - no matter where they come from, what their financial situation is or what kind of skills they possess - is time. By involving every one of our players and coaches, Manager Joe Girardi, General Manager Brian Cashman and the entire front office staff during the celebration of HOPE Week, the Yankees are sending the message that everyone can give of themselves to make their community a better place.

Equally significant during HOPE Week is garnering publicity for the highlighted causes and organizations. The greatest challenge facing many not-for-profits is generating interest, awareness and funding for their missions.


United We Serve - Serve.gov

Since 2010, the Yankees have partnered with the White House's United We Serve initiative, raising awareness of the President's call for Americans to become more involved in community service. The Yankees encourage fans to visit Serve.gov to find volunteer opportunities in their communities.

Implementing the Initiative

The Yankees' HOPE Week initiative is an organizational effort, integrating players, coaches, the Yankees front office, dozens of sponsors and some of New York's most iconic social and corporate institutions.

This year will mark the fourth consecutive year in which all of the Yankees' U.S.-based affiliates will each hold their own HOPE Weeks, truly making this initiative one that the entire organization stands behind in words and in action.

The initial phase of HOPE Week planning involves the selection of the honorees. In order to draw on the most diverse and inspiring group possible, an online nomination form is made available to the public on yankees.com. Additionally, the Yankees Media Relations Department reviews general fan mail and independently reaches out to other public social institutions to find exceptional individuals to recognize.

HOPE Week is designed to be an event that fans look forward to every year. Throughout the five-day stretch of games, the HOPE Week narrative is woven into the Yankees' on-field activities. Honorees are treated like members of the team, joining players and coaches next to the hitting cage during batting practice and on the field after victories for celebratory high fives. They also participate in traditional pregame festivities, including ceremonial first pitches and the exchange of team lineup cards. Most importantly, all are given a platform to tell their inspiring stories in their own voices.

As is the HOPE Week tradition, all celebrants from prior years are invited back to celebrate with current honorees. The gesture of returning to give back where they once received symbolizes what HOPE Week aspires to be.


President's Volunteer Service Award
YANKEES RECEIVE PRESIDENT'S VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD

At the conclusion of the last five Yankees HOPE Weeks from 2010-14, the Yankees have been honored with the President's Volunteer Service Award, given "in recognition and appreciation of commitment to strengthening the nation and for making a difference through volunteer service." The awards were bestowed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which implements the President's Call to Service.

Click here to see the Presidential Certificate Awarded to the Steinbrenner family.

Click here to see the Presidential Certificate Awarded to the Yankees.

Click here to see the letter from President Obama to the Yankees.

The Impact

Each of the five honorees during HOPE Week is given a day of their dreams, complete with surprise elements involving Yankees players, dignitaries and celebrities. Throughout the entire process, local, national and international media are given the opportunity to film, record and report on events to allow for comprehensive storytelling over a complete range of media platforms. The goal is to give these exemplary individuals the largest possible audience to hear their inspirational messages.

All events are designed to generate attention and raise the profile of serious social issues affecting our nation and the world. Beyond getting these stories into the mainstream media, the Yankees organization looks to reward honorees for their fortitude in the face of adversity.

The attention that HOPE Week has brought to different causes and charities has changed lives permanently for the better. Within three weeks of being honored during the 2011 celebration, Daniel's Music Foundation was able to increase the number of students in its programs from 150 to 250, allowing 100 additional disabled men, women and children in New York City to receive free therapeutic music instruction. HOPE Week 2010 honoree Mohamed Kamara, who less than 10 years ago was foraging through the forests of war-torn Sierra Leone to provide food for his family, enjoyed a paid internship at the New York Stock Exchange in the summer of 2011 in recognition of his remarkable story.

The Yankees are proud that the Minnesota Twins have been inspired to hold their own HOPE Week the last four seasons. Other organizations and community groups, including the Rhode Island Interscholastic League and Dittman Incentive Marketing, have also begun similar HOPE-themed projects to honor heroes in their respective communities.


Direct Giving

In addition to bringing attention to the honorees' inspirational endeavors, the Yankees have made $10,000 donations to not-for-profit organizations every time a HOPE Week honoree has received recognition. In 2015, the Yankees Foundation has made the following donations.

Monday, August 17:
To honor Chris Singleton, the Yankees donated $5,000 to the Singleton Memorial Fund at Charleston Southern University and $5,000 to Mother Emanuel AME Church.

Tuesday, August 18:
The Yankees donated $10,000 to the Prospector Theater.

Wednesday, August 19:
To honor the Southern Boulevard School, the Yankees donated $2,500 to each of four charities that the school raises money for (The Community Food Bank of N.J.; Family Promise of Morris County; Summit Women's Club/Area Baby Center; and Project Linus of N.J.).

Thursday, August 20:
The Yankees donated $5,000 to the Hunterdon Huskies and $5,000 to Jawonio, which is the community center where the Contender Cheerleaders practice.

Friday, August 21:
The Yankees donated $10,000 to Baking Memories 4 Kids.


2015 HOPE Week Honorees

Friday, August 21
BAKING MEMORIES 4 KIDS
HOPE WEEK 2015

In 2007, 47-year-old Frank Squeo was diagnosed with Stage III testicular cancer. While receiving treatment, he met many children also battling cancer, and he promised himself that he would do something to help these children someday. With his return to health, the Rockland County, N.Y., resident founded Baking Memories 4 Kids, a non-profit organization that bakes and sells chocolate chip cookies during the holiday season. The proceeds are used to fund all-expenses-paid vacations for the families of children with life-threatening illnesses to Give Kids the World Village - an Orlando, Fla. resort that is designed specifically for children with disabilities and illnesses.

Thursday, August 20
HUNTERDON HUSKIES
HOPE WEEK 2015

In 2009, Debbie House took a passion for helping special needs children and created an outlet for local young girls to shine through the Hunterdon Huskies Contender cheerleading team in High Bridge, N.J. The team consists of a dozen high school-aged girls with various disabilities, including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism. The program allows the girls to temporarily escape the challenges of their everyday lives and do something they love, while forming strong friendships through a shared activity.

Wednesday, August 19
SOUTHERN BOULEVARD SCHOOL
HOPE WEEK 2015

In 2014, the students and administration at Southern Boulevard School elementary school in Chatham Township, N.J., embraced the core concepts of HOPE Week and made it their own, adapting the program for their school. Throughout the week of Nov. 17-21, 2014, each grade took on a different community service project with the idea that no one is too young to begin giving back.

Tuesday, August 18
PROSPECTOR THEATER
HOPE WEEK 2015

In November 2014, Valerie Jensen opened a unique movie theater in Ridgefield, Conn., staffed primarily by individuals with disabilities. The Prospector Theater is more than a movie theater. It's a place where staff members are referred to as "prospects," and are given the training and confidence needed to realize their own potential. In its first eight months, the staff of theater has grown to 90 people, with no signs of slowing down.

Monday, August 17
CHRIS SINGLETON
HOPE WEEK 2015

Currently a baseball player at Charleston Southern University, Chris Singleton was a typical student when tragedy forever changed his life. His mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 - a minister at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., and speech pathologist and girls track coach at Goose Creek High School - was among the nine parishioners who lost their lives in a premeditated hate crime at the church on June 17, 2015. He helped start his community's healing process by publicly forgiving the accused killer, proclaiming, "Love is always stronger than hate."

Past HOPE Week Honorees

For a look back on past year's HOPE Week Honorees, please visit our archives »