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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2005 > Bank of America Presents Check to Benefit Little League Urban Initiative

Bank of America Presents Check to Benefit Little League Urban Initiative

Gary Wheeler, center, strategic marketing executive for Bank of America's baseball sponsorships, presents David James, left, director of the Little League Urban Initiative, and Stephen D. Keener, right, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, with a donation from Bank of America to the Urban Initiative.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 31, 2005) – The Little League Urban Initiative received a $75,000 donation from Bank of America as part of the company’s support of the Major League Baseball Player of the Week program.

Bank of America, a corporate partner of Little League Baseball and Softball, became the official bank of Major League Baseball in July 2004 and since that time has been the presenting sponsor of the American League and National League Player of the Week Awards. Since the week of May 23-29, Bank of America has donated $1,000 to the Little League Urban Initiative on behalf of each Bank of America Major League Baseball Player of the Week recipient.

The check presentation took place during an on-field ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 27, prior to the United States Championship game of the 59th Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

“Little League and Major League Baseball have nurtured a healthy relationship in the Urban Initiative,” David James, director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. “Bank of America also has recognized the impact of the Urban Initiative. On behalf of all of the children, adult volunteers, and local leagues that will benefit from this donation, I thank Bank of America for appreciating the role Little League plays in metropolitan neighborhoods across the country.”

Mr. James was in Boston to attend the first “Bank of America Presents the American League Player of the Week” ceremony, as Red Sox shortstop Edgar Renteria was honored during a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park. Rich Higginbotham, Bank of America president for business capital and leasing, also was part of the ceremony, and presented Mr. James with the first $1,000 check.

“Little League and the Urban Initiative program have a strong commitment to local communities, and as the official bank of baseball, what is good for baseball, is good for us,” Gary Wheeler, strategic marketing executive for Bank of America’s baseball sponsorships, said. “The main reason we are so excited is the opportunity to do things across the spectrum of baseball. This donation is a great way to tie our Major League Baseball relationship with Little League Baseball, so from the big leagues to the Little League we can impact communities.”

“As a long time partner of Little League and contributor to the Little League Urban Initiative, Major League Baseball is thrilled that Bank of America has integrated a charitable component into the Major League Baseball Award that will benefit the MLB players and fans of tomorrow,” John Brody, Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales for Major League Baseball, said.

The Little League Urban Initiative has enjoyed success in more than a 70 cities since it began in 2000. Notably, leagues in Houston and Tampa are thriving, with thousands of children participating in Little League over the past four years.

Recently, Wrigley Little League in Los Angeles, North Seminole Little League in Tampa, Fla., and South Side Little League in Chicago received funding and assistance through the Little League Urban Initiative. More than 150 local Little Leagues in the U.S. are part of the Urban Initiative. Through 2004, the program stimulated the addition of 144 teams and 2,100 players.