David Ortiz is a two-time World Series Champion, American League Championship MVP, six-time All-Star and most importantly a supporter and proud philanthropist in children’s health care. The Sporting News Designated Hitter of the Decade has been a supporter of the cause since early 2005 and has had the David Ortiz Children’s Fund ever since 2007. After a visit to the CEDIMAT Hospital in the Dominican Republic, Ortiz was shaken by the reality of the life threatening difficulties many children face and made a promise to do what he could to lend his hand in their fight.
Big Papi showed testament to just how big his heart is when he returned to the hospital one year after making that promise. With him was a cheque of $200,000 from donations in which Ortiz organized to raise during a fundraiser in honor of the cause. Through personal donations, silent auctions and corporate sponsors, Ortiz collected what would be the first of many large donations and selfless acts performed by one of Major League Baseball’s top sluggers. In 2007, the David Ortiz Children’s Fund was created; enabling children in the Dominican Republic and the New England area access to the proper treatment and care to live a full, healthy, happy life.
Ortiz, who is a father, shares an emotional connection to the children he assists. His frequent visits and interaction with the children not only affect him, but put a smile on the faces of those who need it most. He also knows about adversity and the curveballs life can and does throw at you. Right after finishing high school, Ortiz signed his first contract with the Seattle Mariners in 1992 but had to wait nearly 10 years before holding his own permanent spot on a Major League roster. Due to his young age and inexperience, as well as constant injuries, things weren’t always looking bright for Big Papi until he signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2002. Since then, he has been a key asset to the two World Series titles and constant playoff appearances the Red Sox have seen since then.
In 2008, UNICEF awarded Ortiz the “Children’s Champion Award” in recognition of his work and awareness in children’s health care. Not only does his foundation host multiple charitable events and fundraisers, but Big Papi is also known for his numerous public appearances. His willingness and dedication to the countless children he helps has made him a role model not only on the field, but in everyday society. His drive to make a difference in his home country and the city of his beloved Red Sox is a small indication of the positive role professional sports has on our society.
To learn more about the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, visit http://www.davidortizchildrensfund.org/