Since July 2015, the MLBPA–MLB Youth Development Foundation has focused on improving quality and conditions as well as youth participation in baseball and softball programs in the United States and Canada. On Feb. 12, the YDF made a $1 million grant to upgrade the facilities at California State University, Noprthridge.
The grant will go towards renovating a lighting system at Matador Stadium, allowing CSUN to host night practices and games, opening up more time when the ballpark is available to the community and creating a more family-friendly atmosphere. The lighting project will benefit high school prospects to visit CSUN baseball games. The grant will also go towards CSUN’s youth baseball initiative, which aims to develop baseball, leadership and life skills for kids in the San Fernando Valley.
San Fernando Valley is home to nearly two million residents, where baseball and softball programs are finally inaccessible in underserved communities. In the five years since CSUN Athletics implemented its youth baseball program, it has reached more than 2,500 players and families in the Valley and Los Angeles Area.
Hall of Fame player Dave Winfield, who serves as a special advisor to the Executive Director Tony Clark, was a catalyst for YDF grant to California .
“As a board member of the Joint MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, I look for opportunities around the country that can further our mission of spreading youth baseball and education,” Winfield said. “I live in Los Angeles and recognized CSUN’s vision and commitment to youth baseball and education, a true commitment inside a unique community partnership. This model is what we want to support, and possibly have others follow.”