Adrian making major impact on LA Latino community
In just over one year with Dodgers, Gonzalez heavily involved in area charities
LOS ANGELES -- The home runs and RBIs are archived for all to see, but many of Adrian Gonzalez's contributions, if less visible, are arguably even more important.
Gonzalez is not only in the middle of the Dodgers' batting order, in little more than a year, he's become an impact player in the franchise's community outreach, especially as it impacts fellow Latinos, which make up roughly half of the City of Los Angeles' four million residents.
"In the little over a year that Adrian has been in Los Angeles, his impact has already been felt on the civic, cultural and sports front," said Renata Simril, the club's senior vice president of external affairs. "Adrian's outlook on this civic responsibility has endeared him to a fan base that's been looking for someone who shares a similar life story and cultural upbringing. That is why the Latino community of Los Angeles loves him."
Much of Gonzalez's charity work benefits PADRES Contra El Cancer, an organization committed to improving the quality of life for Latino children with cancer and their families. The organization promotes a comprehensive understanding of childhood cancer and other blood disorders, as well as effective methods for treatment.
Honoring the commitment he made in Boston, Gonzalez made a significant performance-based monetary contribution to PADRES at the end of last season. In 2013, he invited families served by PADRES to the Dodgers game on Mother's Day. The families were treated to parking and tickets in the all-you-can-eat section so that meals were provided for all invited. This invitation was the first date of a season-long program Gonzalez initiated, "Adrian Gonzalez's Viva Los Dodgers Days."
Gonzalez, the Dodgers' nominee for the 2013 Roberto Clemente Award, was an honorary Co-chair for the PADRES Contra El Cancer "Stand for Hope Run/Walk" that took place in June in Los Angeles. He was on the road with the team, but supported it through social media efforts, recorded a public service announcement, lent his image to the marketing campaign and donated tickets to a game, parking and a meet-and-greet with him for the top fundraiser of the walk to incentivize the participants.
While in San Diego, and continuing in Boston during his time with the Red Sox, Gonzalez formed the Adrian Gonzalez Scholarship, a program providing financial assistance to underprivileged students attending four-year colleges and universities. Scholarships are granted to students from low- to middle-income families with strong academic records who are involved in a balance of community, school and work activities with a focus on community service.
Adrian and his wife, Betsy, financially support two baseball fields in Tijuana, Mexico, for youth -- "Campo Adrian Gonzalez en la Liga Municipal de Tijuana." He attended rededication ceremonies for both fields last November and donated Dodgers items to the youth baseball players.
The couple also host families at each Sunday home game for his "Viva Los Dodgers Days," which started on Mother's Day. The program provides all-inclusive all-you-can-eat tickets and parking for families in greater Los Angeles by partnering with various nonprofit organizations that provide various services to the underprivileged and low-income communities.
Last winter, Gonzalez was a non-stop outreach machine. In December, he hosted the annual Dodgers Children's Holiday Party at which 300 local youth were invited to read with Santa, play games with current Dodgers and Dodgers alumni, eat lunch and receive Dodgers goodie bags.
Also in December, Adrian and Betsy purchased and donated $25,000 in toys that they helped to distribute to children in East Los Angeles at a children's holiday celebration. They have stated that they will do this annually for a deserving charity.
In January 2013, Adrian, along with many other teammates, made a special trip to Los Angeles to take part in the annual "Pitching in the Community" Caravan, a full day of community service.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.