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Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation – August 2014



Cal, Vi, and Bill Ripken opening a CRSF turf field at the Aberdeen Boys and Girls Club, August 11, 2014. This field was named after Vi Ripken to honor her long time volunteer work at this club on behalf of youth. It was the 25th CRSF turf field to opened in disadvantaged neighborhoods across the United States. Many more will follow. The Foundation was started by Cal and Bill to honor the memory and legacy of their father. Both are heavily involved. CAL RIPKEN, JR.’S Hall of Fame Induction speech before an estimated 85,000 people (Cal and Tony Glynn were inducted) reflects well a lesser known side of Cal- he is thoughtful, caring, highly analytical, and focuses both on the big picture and the relevant details. His speech is quite unique in HOF annals in that it reflected not just on the past but the possibilities and responsibilities ahead.

“My life in baseball has been one giant blessing but when I finished playing, and I say finished playing rather than retired because I was not at an ending, but rather at another beginning in my life. I had the opportunity to look back on my playing career and take stock of experience, knowledge, and values that could shape this next stage of my life…”While we all work to develop into productive people for our own happiness, it is also vital that we do so for the good of society as a whole. I truly believe there are no endings, just points at which we begin again…Finally as I experience another new beginning with this induction I can only hope that all of us, whether we have played on the field or been fans in the stands, can reflect on how fortunate we are and can see our lives as new beginnings that allow us to leave the world a bit better than when we came into it.”

Pictured above are tangible results of Cal and Bill’s commitment. Caliyiah Lee from the Roy McBean Boys and Girls Club, Sarasota, Fl., doing drills at Cal Senior’s Yard in Cal’s home town of Aberdeen, Md. This is a youth sized CRSF field modeled after Camden Yards and Caliyiah was one of 675 sponsored kids from 23 different states attending one of our CRSF week long summer camps in 2014. She, like 90% of our campers, had never been on an airplane before. For some kids the experience and exposure has been life changing. For some neighborhoods, their association with the Ripken Foundation has been a transformational vehicle because of the Foundation’s Badges for Baseball program and/or it’s multi-purpose Youth Development Park synthetic turf field program. The former is a joint program with law enforcement officers now operating in 100 communities across the country. It was initiated by former Chair and remarkable leader, Robbie Callaway. The latter was based on the insights and recommendation of the Foundation’s exceptional CEO, Steve Salem. We expect nearly 50 Youth Development Parks (YDP) to be in operation by the end of 2015. This is the only national program of its kind in the United States. From my perspective, the YDP formula established by the Foundation has significant inherent strengths and is scalable because it is a first rate customized tangible product done in partnership with local sponsors and incorporates character building programs developed by CRSF and others. The YDP below (right) is located in one of Baltimore’s most economically depressed areas, Park Heights. It opened in December 2013 and can be used for football, baseball, softball, and soccer. Operated by the city’s recreation department, it was funded by the CRSF, the Baltimore Ravens, the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and private donors led by former Board Chair, Frank Kelly.

In Naples, Florida our partner is the Boys and Girls Club. This $1.4M project was funded by Jay and Patty Baker. Jay, also a former CRSF Chair, took Kohl’s public. His involvement, spirit, and generosity are invaluable to CRSF.

Bakers honored at CRSF 2013 “Aspire” event.


In his hometown of Harrisburg, PA, CRSF’s current Chair, Mark Butler funded a Youth Development Park owned by the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg.

Mark is pictured here with the dynamic director of that club, Yvonne Hollins.

Mark’s leadership and entrepreneurial skill she is the founder of Ollie’s Bargain Outlets- have had a tremendous impact on this club and the Foundation. If you ask Cal, Bill, or Vi, they will all tell you that the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has exceeded way beyond their expectations largely because of CEO Steve Salem and his
team coupled with the capabilities of the Board of Directors. Mark, like the rest of us, marvels that Cal has posted for virtually every Board meeting in the Foundation’s history. He says: “The association with the Ripken name puts us on a different platform in making a difference in people’s lives. We are proud, privileged, and honored to be a steward of that name and make sure we represent it properly.”
In 2015 the Foundation’s budget will be $18M and we will touch a million kids, coaches, and mentors. I wonder sometimes- given the clout that respected celebrity athletes have in this country- why in this day and age that to date this has proven exceptional.
As I think about the Foundation’s future, my hope is that it continues to broaden and deepen its involvement in hundreds of communities across the country. Ideally, CRSF will be able to leverage its knowledge and experience so that it’s partners, especially local Boys and Girls Clubs, greatly enhance the dollars and volunteers available to them.

Cal, as I look at this photo I can only say, “Who Knew”! Thanks for the ride!

Roger Ralph