The Fresno Grizzlies have long been a community staple, providing two decades of Triple-A baseball entertainment.

Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum and Carlos Correa are among the megastars who have grown up in the Fresno farm systems of the San Francisco Giants or the Houston Astros.

While the franchise may be proud of being the top-level minor league club of four World Series champions, perhaps they are just as proud of giving back to the community.

In 2004, the club started the Grizzlies Community Fund. Whitney Campbell, the team executive who runs the program says the goal is simple: “to be an active and esteemed member here in Fresno.”

The fund is the 501(c)(3) non-profit counterpart to the baseball team. Campbell says the fund is the best-kept secret in the Valley: “We don’t want it to be a secret anymore.”

The fund operates six different programs including working with the United Way’s “Adopt a Family” to spread holiday cheer.

Another popular program is “Wild About Reading.” Hundreds of thousands of young Valley scholars are rewarded for picking up a book. In addition to a ticket to catch a game, students earn prizes for learning.

Of course, there is the thrill of Parker, the team’s giant grizzly mascot, visiting a school.

Junior Grizzlies Is Flagship Program

The Junior Grizzlies program helps provide the joy of baseball for kids with mental and physical issues. The team calls it the flagship program. They play at the “Field of Dreams,” a special diamond designed for children of all ages.

“It’s very heartwarming to see that what we do makes an impact. It is across the board in all areas,” Campbell says.

For more information regarding the Grizzlies Community Fund, contact Whitney Campbell in the Grizzlies front office: (559) 320-2547 or wcampbell@fresnogrizzlies.com.

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