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Little League Urban Initiative Receives Grant From Annie E. Casey Foundation

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (March 14, 2001) - The Annie E. Casey Foundation is providing Little League Baseball's Urban Initiative with a planning grant of up to $40,600, it was announced today by Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball.

For more than 50 years, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has benefited disadvantaged children and their families in the United States. The foundation's mission is to foster public policies, human service reforms, and community supports to meet the needs of at-risk children and families. The foundation provides grants to public and nonprofit organizations to strengthen the support services, social networks, physical infrastructure, employment, self-determination, and economic vitality of distressed communities.

The funds provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation will be used to convene a summit of Little League leaders from urban areas around the country. The summit will be held here at the Little League Baseball International Headquarters, March 30 to April 1, 2001.

"Little League's Urban Initiative is a perfect fit for the kind of support provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation," Mr. Keener said. "We're pleased that the foundation and its president, Douglas Nelson, will be a part of this important aspect of Little League."

The Little League Baseball Urban Initiative is part of "A World of Opportunity - Little League Baseball Capital Campaign for the Future," a campaign to raise $20 million for a variety of enhancements to Little League programs and facilities worldwide. The Urban Initiative seeks to bring the joy of friendly athletic competition and the benefits of role-model mentoring to children and adults in urban environments, offering alternatives to negative influences such as drugs and gangs. Model programs in Harlem and South Central Los Angeles have proved it can be done, as successful Little League programs now thrive in those areas.

  "Little League is not just a fun sport of bats and balls, because Little League also helps develop qualities critical to success in any career," David James, Director of the Little League Urban Initiative, said. "Teamwork, discipline, respect for each other, and a wholesome competitive spirit are the basic experiences we want for every Little Leaguer. But the best reason for bringing Little League Baseball to the urban arena is to bring families closer together."

 Little League Baseball is the world's largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.9 million boys and girls ages 5-18 participating in every U.S. state and 103 other countries.

For more information contact: 
Lance Van Auken, Director of Media Relations and Communications
Little League Baseball International Headquarters 
(570) 326-1921 
Media E-mail: media@littleleague.org
WEB Site: http://www.littleleague.org  
Annie E. Casey Foundation Web Site: www.aecf.org