Toyota Makes Million Dollar Commitment To Youth And Family Programs At New Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy

by LP Green, II

Kids and families in North Texas will soon have more opportunity for learning and play. The Texas Rangers and Toyota, the Official Truck Sponsor of the Texas Rangers, have announced an additional partnership that will greatly enhance the experience and programs at the new Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex.

Toyota has made a one million dollar commitment to the West Dallas facility, which will be called the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex presented by Toyota. Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre also will make major financial contributions to the project.

In addition, Toyota will work closely with the Texas Rangers Foundation to implement programs that support the youth and families that will utilize the Academy. These programs are expected to include literacy, STEM-focused and curriculum initiatives as well as other career exploration opportunities.

“Since Toyota’s founding more than 80 years ago, our company has been committed to improving the communities where we do business. It’s part of what we call “The Toyota Way,” said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer, Toyota Motor North America. “As part of our commitment to our new home in North Texas, we’ve already established several partnerships that make a positive impact on the lives of others, and that’s why Toyota’s investing 1-Million dollars to partner with the Rangers and to provide new opportunities for the kids and families of West Dallas.”

Toyota employees are also expected to have significant volunteer participation in the activities at the Academy as part of the company’s strong commitment to community.

“The Texas Rangers cannot thank Toyota enough for their generous and significant partnership with our new Youth Academy,” said Neil Leibman, chairman of the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and chairman of the Rangers Ownership Committee. “The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy will benefit so many youngsters in so many ways. We look forward to working with Toyota in helping to make dreams come true.”

Toyota’s branding at the Academy will include signage on the exterior and interior areas of the facility as well as the scoreboards and dugouts on the five fields.

The Texas Rangers and Toyota entered into a multi-year partnership in April, which included Toyota’s official truck sponsorship as well as the branding and naming rights for 12 of the Rangers’ parking lots adjacent to Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Outfielder Josh Hamilton has made a financial contribution to the Academy project that will result in the naming rights to one of the fields. The Josh Hambone Hamilton Field will be used for youth baseball and softball league play and instruction. The infield of the field will get artificial turf replacement and the outfield will remain as natural grass. The dugouts will feature Rangers Red Brick and the seating structures will be shaded and seat approximately 200.

Third baseman Adrian Beltre’s financial contribution will go towards the cost of building the full turf major league size indoor infield that will be a featured part of the Youth Academy building. Beltre’s uniform number “29” will be inscribed in the grass turf of that infield.

The Rangers, Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Dallas-based Mercy St. are partnering to build the new state-of-the-art facility, which will provide free (or reduced cost) and year-round opportunities for North Texas youth, on the 17-acre site at the intersection of Hampton and Bickers. When totally completed, the facility will include five fields and an Academy building.

Construction is slated to be completed on the project that is south of Bickers by October 1. The site north of Bickers that features the Academy building and Oates Field, presented by Papa John’s will be completed by the spring of 2017. The architect for the project is Sterling Barnett Little, Inc. of Arlington, Texas, and the general contractor is the Skiles Group of Richardson, Texas.

The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy will be available to children throughout North Texas, especially the more than 8,000 kids who live within the West Dallas neighborhood and youth from the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area. In addition to providing year-round baseball and softball instruction and play, including hosting tournaments, coaching clinics and skills camps, the Academy will provide youth with access to tutoring programs, college prep classes, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs, courses teaching math through the use of baseball statistics, and MLB industry alternative career workshops.

Youth also will have opportunities to be involved in drug resistance and gang-prevention programs and healthy lifestyle classes.  Additionally, all Academy members and other community youth benefit from Academy facilities and programs through baseball vocational programming, such as umpiring seminars, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports information training, and athletic sports training.

The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation will employ staff to oversee the Academy, and will work withMercy Street and their existing programming.  The Operations of the Academy will be covered entirely by the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, which also will provide equipment, supplies, utilities and other operating costs.

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