Major League Baseball has officially debuted "MLB Together," a social responsibility platform that focuses on helping communities through engagement, nonprofit partnerships, social impact and volunteerism. Liam Hendriks, the White Sox closer on his way back to the majors after beating cancer, has been named the ambassador.
"MLB Together represents the very best of what our sport means to our fans and our communities. Baseball's ability to bring people together through shared values and addressing common causes has helped secure the game's status within our culture," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "We look forward to working with our Clubs, partners, players and fans to make a meaningful community impact through the MLB Together platform."
April Brown, MLB's Vice President of Social Responsibility & Community Affairs, told CBS Sports that the league is proud of its efforts in multiple areas within the organization, but also felt it was important to extend resources to fans.
The platform will feature resources to help in several different areas, including mental health. Brown said that although MLB Together is being released during Mental Health Awareness month, the organization wants the impact to be year round.
Part of the mental health awareness effort is a video featuring several MLB players, including Carlos Correa, Austin Meadows, Carlos Rodón, Kenley Jansen, CJ Abrams and Kolten Wong. The video, which will air in MLB ballparks, sends the message that "we are all in this together."
Together, we will continue to make a difference in our communities.— MLB (@MLB) May 17, 2023
Today, we’re proud to announce the launch of MLB Together, emphasizing Baseball’s efforts to make important societal contributions through the power of partnership and community. https://t.co/szuGeqNA4x pic.twitter.com/2Q2PHTFsNf
MLB also has a free Crisis Text Line ("MLB" to 741741) available 24/7 in English and Spanish for anyone in need of confidential mental health and crisis support.
The league pointed out that there has been an epidemic of loneliness and isolation in country, particularly for minority and marginalized young people.
"Youth mental health has been in crisis for a number of years, and we strongly believe that mental health and wellness education plays a key part in helping our youth to remove the stigma around mental health and ask for the help they may need," said Jon Chapman, the president and co-founder of EVERFI, which will provide six 10-minute online modules around understanding mental wellness for students in grades 8-10 in the home towns of all 30 teams.
"We have been working with Major League Baseball for seven years and are proud to be a part of this initiative with them to support student mental health. Their dedication to community impact and our expanded strategic partnership will allow us together to bring this critical education to students who are desperately looking for support and understanding."
MLB Together goes far beyond mental health. It also has resources for workforce development, voting education and environmental sustainability. Other groups involved include the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Stand Up To Cancer.
Here are the seven pillars for MLB Together:
- Youth Empowerment
- Mental health, wellness, belonging & bullying prevention
- Encouraging physical activity and access to baseball & softball
- Educational, professional and workforce development support
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Closing equity gaps for underrepresented communities
- Voting education & access
- Domestic & Physical Safety
- Prevention and survivor support in the areas of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking
- Health Research & Resources
- As the founding donor of Stand Up To Cancer, continue addressing causes focused on cancer, as well as Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease"
- Military Family & Veteran Resources
- Resources, support services and tributes for military families, veterans and active service members
- Disaster Relief – Active membership of the American Red Cross Disaster Responder program
- MLB Green – Environmental sustainability & greening initiatives