The World Series victory for the San Francisco Giants, an unexpected addition to a night intended for the celebration and recognition of community service, became the focal point of the evening at the 5th annual California Prize Award Dinner on Nov. 12. The theme of the night, initiated by President Stephen Privett, S.J. and carried on by Giants President and CEO Larry Baer, was the connection between “doing good and doing well” – the reciprocity between positive actions in the community and the success of such an organization within that community.
“Doing good and doing well are mutually enforcing in achieving life’s goals,” Privett said during the presentation of the award, which occurred under the sparkling lights of a beautifully decorated white tent on Welsh Field.
Baer echoed the sentiment in his acceptance speech.
“The reality is that the road for doing well is doing good in a society.”
The Giants organization has spent much time doing good in their community whether or not they are doing well on the ball field, but this year turned out to be a win in both regards — a World Series championship, and the California Prize for Service and the Common Good.
The California Prize is an award presented by the University to an individual or organization who contributes greatly to the needs of the local community. Over the last year, USF took note of the great contributions of the Giants Community Fund, which supports the Junior Giants Program, and determined back in March that San Francisco’s own Major League Baseball team would be the 2012 recipients of the prize.
“The California Prize goes to community members who excel at service to the community,” Privett said. “The Giants are about more than winning baseball games.”
The Giants Community Fund is a non-profit organization that was established in 1991. The Fund has donated over $14 million to community efforts throughout it’s 21-year existence.
According to it’s mission statement, “the Giants Community Fund collaborates with the San Francisco Giants by using baseball as a forum to encourage underserved youth and their families to live healthy, productive lives.”
One way that the Giants goes about this is through their flagship program, the Junior Giants, which is a non-competitive youth baseball program for at-risk children ages 5-18. The program means to provide a sense of community, an alternative to drugs and violence, and a chance to learn the sport of baseball without the typical expenses. The Fund provides all of the equipment and training necessary to run the leagues, as well as free tickets to certain Giants games. Aside from education in baseball, the Junior Giants also aims to teach the children life skills by focusing on the ideas of confidence, integrity, leadership and teamwork.
Along with the Junior Giants, the Giants Community Fund also supports public awareness campaigns at AT&T park, and annually provides grants to other charitable organizations who benefit the community through health services, violence prevention and educational programs.
Baer, who received the award for the Giants, revealed a strong connection between the type of service that USF encourages and participates in and the services of the Giants Community Fund.
“USF and the Giants have a symbiotic relationship,” Baer said. “Both of us wear SF across our chests and take seriously our utility as more than a business or university.”
The University and the Giants are linked other ways by their passions for community services. According to Baer, there are USF graduates employed with the Giants in every department.
“It’s not just because USF’s proximity to AT&T Park….we share a common vision of the community,” Baer said.
This vision was shared directly between members of the two parties in the collaboration between Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt and USF professor David Batstone on the non-profit organization Not For Sale (NFS). Batstone is the co-founder of the organization, which fights human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Affeldt became involved with NFS after he was traded to the Giants in 2009, and has been supporting the initiative ever since. This season he pledged to donate $250 for every strikeout, hold, save and win. In the 67 games he pitched for the Giants, that money built up into a significant donation to the Not For Sale organization. Of course, Affeldt also contributed in another way by helping to pitch the Giants into the World Series Championship.
“USF and I take full credit for knowing that the Giants would be the World Series Champions at the time of this dinner back in March,” Privett joked during the award ceremony.
The nights connections between providing service to one’s community and finding success in the rest of life’s endeavors were strong, sending a powerful message to both the USF affiliated guests and the members of the Giants organization.
In short, Privett concluded in his speech that the Giants won the World Series because they are good people, not just good baseball players. They are good because they do good for their community, for the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area. The University of San Francisco had a keen eye for just how good the Giants are when they selected the organization for the California Prize back in March.