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Cubs Charities has awarded the Evanston Baseball and Softball Association (EBSA) a $51,000 grant to improve the baseball/softball field at Foster Field. EBSA was selected as one of 14 projects to receive a 2018 Diamond Project grant which helps improve youth baseball and softball fields and facilities across Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“EBSA has had community baseball and softball at Foster Park for a number of years, but the lack of appropriate fencing limited the age ranges for which we could safely play,” said Frank Barbaro, EBSA past president and current board member. “Some improvements were made last year, but this grant will allow us to continue to grow our community baseball efforts and provides us with a desperately needed additional baseball and softball field, especially while Robert Crown is being renovated.”  

Last year, the City of Evanston provided upgrades to the field, most notably new lighting. EBSA invested $12,500 in new fencing along the field’s base lines in order to make the field safer for playing baseball and softball for kids up to 13 years old. 

“We sought the grant to get the field up to the same standard as the majority of our fields at James Park. The commitment that the City and EBSA showed in improving and maintaining the park helped secure the Cubs Charities grant,” said Mr. Barbaro.

The $51,000 will go toward a new backstop, player’s benches and a six-foot high safety fence for the dugouts. 

The Cubs Diamond Project, supported by Cubs Charities and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago, provides funds to nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizations to expand opportunities for children to play baseball and softball and improve the quality, safety and accessibility of local baseball fields or indoor training facilities. Since 2014, the Diamond Project has invested more than $7.3 million to fund 60 investment capital projects, distributed equipment to 14 organizations and provided operating support to 45 youth leagues. Of the capital projects supported to date, 66% are located in under-resourced communities representing more than half of Chicago’s 50 wards. 

“It’s rewarding to see the tremendous growth of the Diamond Project since its inception in 2014. We are reaching communities across Chicago, helping youth foster a love for diamond sports,” said Cubs Charities Board Chair Laura Ricketts.

“We are proud to partner with Cubs Charities to help implement the Diamond Project program to expand opportunities for thousands of kids to play ball across Chicago’s neighborhoods,” said Meghan Harte, LISC Chicago’s Executive Director. “Congratulations to EBSA and, thank you, for helping bring baseball and softball to all Chicago communities.”

The project is expected to be completed by late spring 2019. 

More information on EBSA is available at to www.evanstonbaseball.com.

Registration is now underway for spring baseball and softball. The early-bird rate ends Jan. 15.  Scholarships are available.