Professional Athletes Making a Difference

From a young age, sports teaches us about teamwork, dedication and what it means to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. For elite athletes, it also offers a platform to make a difference on a global scale. We are proud to announce that we have teamed up with elite athletes from across the nation to create Striking Out Poverty, a campaign to help those suffering from extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic (DR).

What is Striking Out Poverty?

Striking Out Poverty provides a unique opportunity for Major League Baseball (MLB) players to use their voice to teach fans about how we can all team up to install water purification systems, build community centers, implement sports programs, revitalize baseball fields, and offer training to local leadership and farmers in nine of the most vulnerable communities in the Dominican Republic. Though the program is barely one year old, we are already seeing the positive impact it has made in thousands of lives.

Who Are They Helping?

The best way to introduce athletes to Striking Out Poverty is to take them to the DR so they can see how their leadership can make a positive impact.

On a recent trip to Camerón, DR, we met a group of villagers who lacked access to drinking water in their homes. Each morning, they walked at least one mile to gather enough water for the day’s tasks, which was physically exhausting as well as time-consuming.

One woman, in particular, stood out to all of us, including Miami Marlin’s second baseman, Dee Gordon. Exhausted from fighting cancer and rising each morning at 5 a.m. to gather enough water, the woman pictured in the middle of the photo at the top of the page, needed help. Thanks to the generosity of Gordon, she and the 2,000 members of her community now have a water purification system, bringing them life-sustaining water and a better life.

Her words remind us why our support and dedication to reaching our goal is so important: “I do not have anything to give to you to say thank you, but God will bless you and look after you for helping our community.”

How You Can Participate

Striking Out Poverty in the Dominican Republic.

We invite the public to get involved. Here’s how the Striking out Poverty campaign works: through Pledge It campaigns, players are using their pitching, batting and base-stealing prowess to raise funds. MLB fans can support the program and their favorite players by going to www.pledgeit.org and typing “Striking Out Poverty” into the search bar.

Pitchers Adam Wainwright and Luke Weaver from the St. Louis Cardinals, Chase Anderson of the Milwaukee Brewers, and Liam Hendriks of the Oakland Athletics, are all raising funds based on the number of strikeouts they throw this season. Pittsburgh Pirates’ Gregory Polanco has a campaign related to his hits, and Miami Marlins’ Dee Gordon is pledging toward his steals. Arizona Diamondback, Nick Ahmed’s, campaign is based on the number of team wins through the end of the season.

As a thank you for participating, fans can also win MLB memorabilia donated from the players and teams. Fans can also help make Striking Out Poverty a success by learning more about the project and donating directly at www.strikingoutpoverty.com.

As we head into the MLB playoffs, we hope that you will join our team and consider taking those life lessons of teamwork and dedication that we learned on ball fields as children and get involved with this life-changing campaign. Together, we can greatly impact those who need our help most in the Dominican Republic.


Milam Byers is Director of Sports Partnerships and has been working at Food for the Hungry for 4 years. He and his wife live in Nashville, Tennessee with their three awesome children.