ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols may not know where he’ll be playing ball next season, but he does know that certain subjects hit close to home. Such as impoverished children growing up in the Dominican Republic (he was once one of those himself). And children with Down syndrome (he has a daughter with with DS).
So he has combined both into the driving forces behind his charity foundation, The Pujols Family Foundation. And this isn’t just some foundation for show – The Pujols Family Foundation is one of the more active charity endeavors you’ll ever come across, whether it’s hosting a celebrity golf outing for nine straight years, to taking kids and their parents on a fishing trip, to heading down to the Dominican Republic once a year to see firsthand how his contributions are bettering the lives of others.
Another driving force behind Pujols’ charity is his faith. Indeed, faith is one of the three tenets of his foundation’s vision statement: “In the New Testament we are called ‘to look after orphans and widows in their distress’ (James 1:27 NIV). We will live out our faith by improving the standard of living and quality of life for impoverished children and orphans in the Dominican Republic through our outreach to the most impoverished communities and villages.”
The two other tenets of the vision statement are Family and Others:
Family: “We did not choose Down syndrome. Down syndrome chose us.” … Our goal is to promote awareness, provide hope and create supportive and memorable events for the families and children who live with Down syndrome.
Others: At the core of the Pujols Family Foundation is the belief that every person is special in the sight of God. We will strive to provide extraordinary experiences for people with disabilities and/or life threatening illnesses. ….
The events that the Pujols Foundation supports are as wide and varied as the talents Pujols brings to the ball yard. For instance, in October, the foundation is hosting “Autumn Prom,” an invite-only event for people with Down Syndrome to get dressed up and dance the night away.
In Dec., he and his wife, Deidre, are hosting “O’Night Divine,” a Christmas celebration at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis.
And a recent event featured a private gathering at Grant’s Farm on a Monday (when the park is usually closed), allowing nearly 900 people to come and go throughout the day and experience all that the park has to offer.
Grant’s Farm is the 281-acre ancestral home of the August Busch family, housing more than 900 animals of approximately 100 different species. Former President U.S Grant founded and farmed a portion of the acreage in the 1850s, giving the park its name.
And, for the past four summers, the foundation has partnered with local grocery chain, Dierbergs Markets, to offer cooking classes to young people with Down Syndrome and their parents. This year’s menu included a BLT salad, barbecue chicken-melt subs, and taco tater sticks. More than 250 people attended this summer’s eight “Batter-up Cooking Experience” programs.
Because of the level of hands-on involvement that Pujols is showing to causes near and dear to his heart, we are honored to award Albert and the entire foundation a Gold Star. And we’re sure that while Pujols’ address may change next year, his caring and support of those around him will only continue to grow.
- For more information on the foundation, please visit http://www.pujolsfamilyfoundation.org, which includes a blog, a quarterly newsletter, and information on upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.
- Special thanks to Lory Ankiel for bringing up this foundation for a Gold Star!
Copyright © 2011 The Good in Sports, Inc. All rights reserved.