Not only are the Astros the winningest team in Major League Baseball on the diamond, they continue to be winners in the community as well. A sterling example of the team’s commitment is the Community Leaders program.
Developed by Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane, the Community Leaders program seeks to provide the next generation of ballplayers and young athletes with the environment and resources they need to develop physically and mentally. The Astros accomplish their mission with the support of local corporate entities.
What started as an initiative with a specific goal – to refurbish youth baseball and softball fields – has grown into a city-wide effort to provide youth baseball and softball programs with the resources needed to impact an even greater number of children and neighborhoods.
Baseball and softball teach young players the importance of teamwork, perseverance and commitment, principles that will serve them not only on the field, but throughout their lives.
Recently the Astros program welcomed two new corporate partners: Chienere Energy and LyondellBasell. They join a group that includes Anadarko, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Calpine, Champion Energy, ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, Lexus/Friedkin, Occidental Petroleum, Nabors and Schlumberger.
“The same values that young people learn playing baseball and softball – teamwork, respect, accountability – are the same values we practice here at Cheniere,” said company President and CEO Jack Fusco.
“The values that Houston’s kids learn on baseball and softball fields will help them later in whatever fields they choose to pursue, and will help to build a better Houston. So whether it’s building homegrown talent to deliver a future Astros World Series title, or homegrown talent for Houston’s businesses and community, this is a program we are thrilled to support.”
“A key part of our mission is to be a responsible, good neighbor in the communities where we operate,” said Bob Patel, CEO of LyondellBasell. “For us, that’s not just investing in our facilities, but investing in our communities as well.
“Games like baseball and softball teach kids the value of good character and teamwork, both of which make our company and communities stronger and better. That’s good for everyone.”
The Community Leaders program has grown significantly since its inception in 2013. Through the help of its corporate partners, the program now impacts thousands of youngsters and their youth baseball and softball leagues throughout the city, providing additional resources, instructional player and coaching clinics, infrastructure enhancements, uniforms and equipment.
The program has renovated 20 ballfields in eight parks and currently maintains 23 fields year-round, providing over 10,000 young athletes with uniforms at no cost. Community Leaders has now expanded its footprint and scope to include established community centers and youth programs throughout Greater Houston.
For its efforts, the Community Leaders program was named a 2016 Mayor’s Proud Partner Award winner.