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Little League International Makes Contribution to Newark Little League Committee

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 27, 2007) – Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, and David James, director of the Little League Urban Initiative, recently presented the Newark (N.J.) Little League Committee with a $100,000 donation for the organization’s Field of Dreams capital campaign.

The goal of the capital campaign is to raise funds for the renovation of five fields currently used by the Newark Little League Committee’s member programs. Little League International’s contribution, provided through corporate sponsor Bank of America and its support of the Little League Urban Initiative, will be incorporated into the campaign drive that also will include financial support from the city of Essex, the Newark Housing Authority, and the city of Newark.

“The city is poised to undertake a project of this scale and there is plenty of excitement,” Nicole Butler, capital campaign coordinator and NLLC volunteer since 2003, said. “The major thrust of this campaign is field construction, but the committee also wants to generate enough capital to ensure the long-term needs for maintenance and upkeep will be met.”

In July 2003, seven Little League programs in the city of Newark, N.J., collaborated to establish the non-profit Newark Little League Committee, Inc. The mission of the NLLC is to guide and support each league within the city of Newark, by creating a youth baseball and softball program intent on molding responsible citizens, while preparing today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Little League International, through the Little League Urban Initiative, recognizes the positive impact of the NLLC which currently influences more than 2,000 children (ages 5 to 18) playing Little League in Newark.

“The Newark Little League Committee has come together to better the opportunities for the children in the city of Newark,” Mr. Keener said. “The collective effort to work toward a common goal exemplifies the type of community spirit that has forged Little League since its founding. It is with that same willingness to give for the better good and sense of neighborhood pride that Little League International makes its contribution to this capital campaign.”

Members of the NLLC include: Central Ward, Roberto Clemente, Ironbound, Jackie Robinson, North Ward Center, North Newark and West Ward Little Leagues. To be renovated are: Jackie Robinson Field, Hank Aaron Field, Kasberger Field, Stangle Field and Jesse Allen Park.

“Little League is growing in Newark, and I would directly attribute that to the committee process,” Mr. James said. “The Newark Little League Committee has stimulated growth, especially in the teenage and softball divisions, by employing creative and proactive thinking when promoting the Little League program and providing benefits to the children its serves.”

Michael Alban, NLLC chairman, was recipient of the first Howard and Gail Paster Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year at the 2005 Little League Baseball World Series.

“Little League’s contribution will help with the renovations of fields throughout the city,” Mr. Alban said. “Some of the fields are in bad shape, but with Little League’s help, I expect more children will be drawn to the program. Renovating these fields will add a lot to the programs all over the city and make the Little Leagues in Newark more inviting and easier for children to play in.”

In recent years, Newark’s Little League programs and its players have enjoyed many unique experiences. Central Ward Little League was invited to the inaugural Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree in 2004, and North Newark Little League, formerly St. Francis-Xavier Little League, made the trip to Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League Baseball World Series for the 2005 Jamboree. In 2006, a Tee Ball team from Jackie Robinson Little League was selected to play a game on the South Lawn of the White House with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush watching from the stands.

Stephen D. Keener, right, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, presents Michael Alban, chairman of the Newark (N.J.) Little League Committee, with a check for $100,000. Little League International’s contribution will be incorporated into the NLLC’s capital campaign, which is currently gathering funds for a series of field renovations projects in the city of Newark.

Corey Booker (mayor of Newark, N.J.); Michael Alban; Joe DiVincenzo (Essex County, N.J., executive); and Stephen D. Keener were on hand for the third annual Newark Little League Committee’s “Field of Dreams” awards reception. At the event, Mr. Keener and David James, director of the Little League Urban Initiative, presented the NLLC with a $100,000 contribution to its capital campaign.