06/27/2012 04:29 pm ET Updated Aug 27, 2012

The Minnesota Twins Community Fund

Baseball and softball teach the children who play it so much more than how to swing a bat or catch a line drive. They are games based on respect, dedication, and teamwork. They inspire hope. And they, along with so many other youth sports, show kids all over the world that playing an organized sport can be fun, rewarding, and can help keep you healthy.

The Minnesota Twins believes deeply in youth athletics and its official charity, the Twins Community Fund, is focused on providing opportunities for everyone to play. Since its establishment in 1991, the Community Fund has worked to enrich local and regional communities by providing resources for the healthy development of children and families through an association baseball, softball, and the Minnesota Twins. In recent years, our resources are in more demand than ever from communities throughout the Upper Midwest who are struggling to keep their baseball and softball programs afloat.

As local governments are forced to make cuts, many times the local athletic associations and school extracurricular programs are the ones on the chopping block. Fields go for too long without upgrades and teams can't find enough coaches. American Legion and VFW programs, the lifeblood of amateur baseball in the Upper Midwest, are also struggling as memberships in those organizations drop and the teams can no longer afford to pay their league fees or buy uniforms.

The Twins Community Fund is working hard to help these programs and bring the joy of the game to the children who play it. Our Fields for Kids program provides matching grants to communities who need to renovate or build youth baseball and softball fields. Since 1999, nearly $2.5 million has been granted to rebuild more than 500 ball fields in the Upper Midwest and Southwest Florida. Tournament Grants assist communities hosting regional and national youth baseball and softball tournaments -- hosting tournaments can help the local economy and bring much needed funds to a local athletic program. Competitive Youth Baseball and Softball Grants assist teams that compete in American Legion, Babe Ruth, and VFW programs with league fees and expenses, while Youth Coaching Grants provide dollars to youth organizations to hire high school or college age coaches or administrators.

Just as "Twins Territory" stretches across state lines, so does the outreach of the Twins Community Fund. Providing support in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Western Wisconsin, and Southwest Florida, we know that our community is not just the area that surrounds Target Field. Baseball is a game that brings people together, and we're proud to help keep the great tradition of America's pastime alive throughout so many communities in our region.

More information about the Twins Community Fund and its programs can be found at