Create a Legacy - Build a Better Life for One Billion People


The Project - Going to Bat for Africa

 

To transform the delivery of Baseball and Softball in Africa by ensuring equitable access at all levels of participation and to harness the socio-economic contributions and education benefits that will create a better life for all Africans. 


Worldwide there is an increasing acknowledgement that sport and recreation have the potential to promote social inclusion, prevent conflict, and to enhance peace within and among nations. 


Statement of Purpose

The purpose this project is to team with professional athletes, business and philanthropists to create, design and implement a comprehensive plan to greatly enhance the lives and futures of Africa’s youth through education, baseball and softball.


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Baseball in Africa - Phillip Angels

The Mission

 

  1. Develop the games of baseball and softball in Africa, in an environment where the sport is relatively unknown and financial resources are minimal.
  2. Develop supplemental curricula and facilities that immerse students in education, sport, and physical activities allowing participants to cultivate and promote their STEM literacy, engagement, and retention.
  3. Ensure long term viability through achieving critical mass at youth and recreational levels to produce athletes that excel at the adult and elite levels.

Baseball in Africa - Phillip Angels

 What has emerged through past study is the necessity to work on many levels (youth, adult, recreational, elite, financial development, facility development, etc.) simultaneously to make definite, sustainable progress. When the critical mass of players established, a more disciplined and demanding program for achievement could be advanced. 

The Team

Athletes #StandforSomething

Kieran Lovegrove Going to Bat Foundation SF Giants Africa

"I saw the need to literally level the playing field, providing inclusion and opportunity for all.".

Kieran Lovegrove - SF Giants

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Sport For Good

Nelson Mandela

 “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire.  It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does".  

 Nelson Mandela

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Business for Change

Marc Benioff - Co-CEO Salesforce

 “I strongly believe the business of a business is to improve the world.” 


Marc Benioff, Philanthropist and CEO of Salesforce

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Athletes who Stand for Something

 

This project was conceived by Kieran Lovegrove, African-born pitcher with the San Francisco Giants and co-founder of the Going to Bat Foundation (est. 2009). Having enjoyed the opportunity to play professional baseball in the US, Kieran was determined to provide similar opportunities for others from Africa. He witnessed the passion and athleticism of the rapidly expanding pool of baseball players on the continent but also saw the disastrous conditions in which they played the game. 


He realized that by creating an environment that attracted athletes to baseball and softball at a young age and increasing the pool of players in the sports, he could substantially impact the lives and futures of a huge number of African children.


He also acknowledged that his Foundation’s practice of sending badly needed baseball equipment to impoverished programs in Africa was not a long-term or sustainable solution and might even be counter-productive. With a population of one billion people, a solution was needed that combined the collective benefits of sport with education and the development of employment opportunities both within and outside the sport. 


Although the prominence of a handful of African-born players in professional baseball (Lassino Sanfo - Burkina Faso; Gift Ngoepe - South Africa; Tayler Scott - South Africa; Demi Orimoloye - Nigeria) has created unprecedented interest and unity in the African baseball community, it was evident that the scope of the project would require multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve it’s goals.


He reached out to his fellow professional baseball players through social media and received an overwhelming response from MLB Players; Coaches; Front Office Personnel; Writers and Philanthropists, all willing to travel to Africa to help with the development of this project.

Going to Bat Foundation 2012 - Kieran Lovegrove, Kyle Candalla, Adam Salcido

Going to Bat Foundation 2012 - Kieran Lovegrove, Kyle Candalla, Adam Salcido

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Sport for Good

Since the late 1990s and early 2000s several initiatives began researching, developing, and implementing sports programs as a tool for social change.


As UN.org reads, “Sport has a unique power to attract, mobilize and inspire. By its very nature, sport is about participation. It is about inclusion and citizenship. It stands for human values such as respect for the opponent, acceptance of binding rules, teamwork and fairness…” As long as sport is “increasingly recognized and used as a low-cost and high-impact tool in humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts” watch as society continues to make an investment in making sport a priority.

Business for Change

14th Nelson Mandela Lecture presented by Bill Gates, 17 July 2016

Bill Gates

 

“Tomorrow's Innovations Depend On Today's Opportunities For Youth”  

14th Nelson Mandela Lecture presented by Bill Gates, 17 July 2016

Marc Benioff, Philanthropist and CEO of Salesforce

Marc Benioff

 

“I strongly believe the business of a business is to improve the world.” 

Marc Benioff, Philanthropist and CEO of Salesforce

Bill Gates - Philanthropist and Founder of Microsoft

Bill Gates

 

“Africa is in a position to overcome its challenges through its youth and "the ingenuity of the African people" 

Bill Gates - Philanthropist and Founder of Microsoft

Partnership with Business

Education

Sixty percent of Africans are under the age of 25. The median age is 19. (By comparison, in North America it’s 35.) And the number of young people in Africa is expected to grow in the decades ahead.


“These young people can be a huge asset. If they are healthy and educated. They drive economic growth, they drive innovation, so it’s a challenge to the world to take advantage of investing in youth, improving their health and education. It really pays off. The other thing that always strikes me during my trips to Africa is the unbridled optimism of this young generation. …” Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft.


A lack of good education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects is holding back African growth and depriving its youth of career opportunities.


"First and foremost, we must quickly close the African technical and scientific gap, otherwise our continent will no longer be able to successfully compete with other regions in the world"   Africa STEM Alliance


Education STEM fields has been identified as a development goal in Africa. STEM oriented economies perform strongly on a number of economic indicators. Currently, there is a shortage of trained scientists in Africa. Many African countries are investing in STEM research and education, with the African Union encouraging its members to spend 1% of their GDP on STEM.


What is STEM education and why should Africa care?

STEM  - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education in Africa

STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education in Africa

Baseball Bat Made in Africa . by VXL

“Made in Africa” Local manufacturing and sourcing


  • Projects are currently underway to determine the viability of producing bats on the continent.
  • Labor-intensive manufacturing of gloves, abundance of hides, low cost of labor and political stability make West Africa a very viable manufacturing site for gloves..
  • Uniforms can and should be locally sourced*
  • Safety equipment can be manufactured using local labor and resources.


Decades ago, East Africa was largely able to clothe itself. The warm, sunny climate is perfect for cotton, and in the late 1960s Uganda was the largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa with 470,000 bales of cotton lint per year. Most bales, which weigh 400 pounds each, were consumed locally. But over the ensuing half-century, domestic turmoil and economic liberalization caused the market to completely collapse. Today, it’s a shadow of its former self. In the 2017/2018 season, less than a quarter of that cotton was produced, and as much as 95 percent was shipped abroad. The global manufacturing trade is changing and some Africans are trying to spur a revival of the clothing sector. East Africa’s leaders, for their part, are making a high-stakes bet: that domestic manufacturing can flourish, if they can just get rid of Europe and America’s cast-offs.

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A Model for Baseball and Softball Development

Community - “Little League”

Baseball in Benin

 For baseball and softball to grow, a “little-league” structure of local play is encouraged.

Little League

School Baseball

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 Schools, with their resources of people, facilities, and equipment, are perhaps the most significant influence on youth involvement in sport 

School Baseball

Academy

Academy in the Dominican Republic

 Creating the best circumstances for academic, athletic, and personal development. 

Academy

Amateur Scouting

Perfect Game - Scouts in Jupiter Florida

 Providing meaningful opportunities and information to players, families, MLB organizations, college coaches, and fans.

Scouting

Professional Baseball

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 The goal is to create a path for players from their national academies to a future the MLB African Academy, university baseball and MLB baseball

Professional

University

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 There is a need to develop a baseball Center of Excellence program through African universities 

University

Community - “Little League”

Additional Information

African children (and their parents) are used to soccer, where they could walk to the local park, pull on a uniform, play for an hour (being coached by any number of parents/adults who had played the game), and be home by lunchtime. The cost is minimal, the effort needed by kids and parents at sign-up was clear, and the kids were likely to be playing with a number of their friends from the neighborhood or from their school. 


For baseball and softball to grow, a “little-league” structure of local play is encouraged. The resources (specifically, time and money) being injected would then be spent on the game, on the field, and on the kids; rather than money spent on travel. 


Little League® Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with millions of players and more than one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and more than 80 other countries. While Little League would be a recommended option, it is not a requirement for developing baseball in the community. 


The challenge for Little League® in Africa has traditionally been the exorbitant cost of traveling to qualifying tournaments in Europe. Critical mass of Little League® players will however ensure that, like Australia, the winner from Africa goes directly to the Little League® World Series, all costs paid by Little League International.


Local Comnunity Leagues


All league personnel, including the elected board members and officers, and each of the managers, coaches, umpires, auxiliary, field workers, etc., should be volunteers interested in providing the benefits of a league program to the youth of their community.


Although leagues may assess a registration fee, used to purchase uniforms and equipment, maintain fields, etc., the fee should not be a prerequisite for playing. No eligible candidate should to be turned away. Emulating the spirit of Little League, rules must require that every child plays in every game.

Little League in Benin, West Africa

Little League in Benin, West Africa

School

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School Baseball

Research shows that people who play school sports get better jobs, with better pay. Benefits that last a lifetime.


Schools, with their resources of people, facilities, and equipment, are perhaps the most significant influence on youth involvement in sport 


While Community Leagues will cater for players of all abilities, ages 5-18, schools will also introduce an element of competitive baseball and softball. Schools will field teams at each age group,  selected on ability. Inter-school competition will expose student-athletes to a higher standard of baseball.


Student athletes will be required to maintain their grades at an acceptable level to be eligible to play.


School baseball should have a more intensive structure of practice and games for athletes who need more challenges in the sport, those who aspire to elite play, and those who show potential in their ability or their work ethic. 

Academy

Baseball Academies


The primary focus of the Academies is to prepare players for professional careers. 


In partnerships with professional baseball, and along the lines of the academies in the Dominican Republic, the academies will also implement education-based programs that also help prepare prospects for life after their playing careers have ended.  Students will be encouraged to cultivate and promote their STEM literacy, engagement, and retention.


The academies will offer courses in English (if it is not a first language), and players will also participate in programs that help them adjust to life as a professional ball-player. In addition, the Club academies encourage players to give back through Club sponsored service projects that impact their local communities, especially as it relates to youth baseball.


Some important factors to consider with the Academies: 

  • Class schedule allows for practice time. 
  • Access to library, technology, and necessary resources. 
  • Range of courses available to suit all potential candidates. 
  • Admission policies and/or costs are achievable for potential student-athletes. 
  • Tutoring is available. 
  • Regular communication with principal and teachers to monitor academic progress, give forewarning for any potential missed class time, and coordinate plan for advancement. 
  • Courses structured to meet the entry requirements for institutions of higher education. 
  • Availability of English classes. Accommodation and Food
     

There are numerous methods and degrees of providing for accommodation and food. Similar Academies provide dormitories with athlete-geared cafeterias. The crucial consideration is that in order to develop the “whole” athlete, they must be eating and sleeping properly – how this is monitored and achieved can vary depending on the circumstances in each Academy. 


Academies will also be responsible for holding camps and clinics for a wider audience, train coaches and players, helps with recruitment, and provides value and exposure to the wider baseball and softball community. 

 

If there is MLB involvement:


MLB seeks to assist the training of the regions’ elite junior baseball players. Over the past few years, several countries have developed national and/or regional academy training centers for their national team players and coaches. The best way to ensure the long-term development of this region’s players is by supporting the programs and the coaches who work with them throughout the year. 


With this in mind, MLB will provide resources to selected federations that will enhance each nation’s academy systems and accelerate the development of their junior elite players. This plan has many benefits for MLB, the federations and most importantly the players and their coaches. 


Houston Astros Baseball Academy in the Dominican Republic.

Houston Astros Baseball Academy in the Dominican Republic.

Amateur Scouting

Perfect Game the leading resource for  amateur baseball scouting.

Perfect Game

 The Going to Bat Foundation has had discussions with Perfect Game about expansion into Africa. Perfect Game’s mission is to promote the game of now and in the future by hosting the highest quality amateur events while providing meaningful opportunities and information to players, families, MLB organizations, college coaches, and fans.

Their African expansion goals are aligned with the goals of this project

  • Collaborate with MLB and various other baseball partners to help the game grow.
  • Create baseball fans.
  • Help ensure that the best athletes are continually encouraged to play baseball.
  • Utilize best practices for the safety and care of baseball players.
  • Host events at best in class facilities and venues.
  • Encourage participation from all age and demographic groups.
  • Identify, recognize, and provide exposure for talented players and teams
  • Educate and assist parents, players, and everyone involved in the game of baseball

Academy Facilities, Support Staff and Equipment

Professional Baseball

Path to Professionalism

 The goal is to create a path for players from their national academies to a future the MLB African Academy, university baseball and MLB baseball.


The longer term goal is to develop a self-sustaining professional league in Africa.

Once the game reaches critical mass in Africa, strategically situated Academy facilities will be enhanced to provide a stadium, similar to what currently exists in the smaller US Spring Training facilities or Minor League ballparks. These enhanced facilities will provide a home base for a professional team. The number of professional teams will be determined by the level of demand.


To reduce travel costs, professional teams will play in regional leagues. Some countries will be able to sustain more than one team, based on population and level of interest. The end of the season will see top teams in each regional league, compete in geographically determined Division Series, with the winners competing for the Continental Championship.

The official logo of Major League Baseball

The official logo of Major League Baseball

University

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Center of Excellence programs

There is a need to develop a baseball Center of Excellence program through African universities The concept is to train as many future teachers, camp counselors, and sports leaders as possible in the game of baseball. 


It is also to use university sports facilities for training purposes and field development, and to have trainee teachers operate summer camps on campus as recruitment for the creation of local little leagues. Specifically, baseball training courses should be included in the university course curriculum for students in teacher training and physical education. 


An equipment loan program and reward structure can be drawn up to encourage students to volunteer as coaches, teach baseball in summer camps, and use the sport in the future as qualified coaches and teachers. 


A grading system by which the centers could continue to progress can be developed, awarding them for number of children involved, number of trained coaches, and ultimately for participation in baseball events outside of their own community. 

Sustainable Development Goals

UN's Sustainable Development Goals

About the Sustainable Development Goals

 The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it ís important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030. 

UN Strategic Development Goals and The Going to Bat Foundation

The project will strive in no small way to contribute to the achievement to a significant number of these goals

 

Goal 1: No poverty

"End poverty in all its forms everywhere."


The project helps to alleviate poverty by providing services such as healthcare, security, and education. 


Goal 2: Zero hunger


With the vast majority hungry people living in developing countries, the project will provide quality and sustainable nutrition for all participants . 


Goal 3: Good health and well-being for people

"Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages."


Improve the health and well-being of the region by providing mass participation opportunities through active recreation with a goal of least 50% of all Africans participating in sport or active recreation. We will maximize access to sport, recreation and physical education in every school in the region. Physical education compulsory in school curriculums and implemented in all schools. Sufficient and accessible sports facilities that are well maintained by Municipalities and fully utilized by communities.


Goal 4: Quality education

"Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”


Stated goal is ensuring equitable access at all levels of participation and to harness the socio-economic contributions and education benefits that will create a better life for all Africans. Target is to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education.


Goal 5: Gender equality

"Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls."  #GirlsWithGame


Provide overall transformation of the delivery of sport achieved with equal access to and increased participation of girls, youth and people with disabilities in sport and recreation.


Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

"Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all."


Each facility will provide safe drinking water and hygienic toilets to protect people from disease and enable societies to be more productive economically. Attending school without disruption is critical to successful education. Therefore, toilets in schools are a part of the project.  We will ensure that African baseball and softball is supported by adequate and well maintained facilities. 


Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

"Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all."[

Project will, where possible provide renewable energy sources for all facilities. 


Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

"Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all."


With a target of an 7 percent annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP), our goals include a reduction in youth unemployment through education, job creation and creating destinations for events and sports tourism. The project will build the sport economy to effectively contribute to shared economic growth and development in Africa, including through the creation of youth employment. The sport and recreation sector being recognized as a legitimate and purposeful career opportunity for athletes as well as all sport support staff, with clear career paths and accredited academic and vocational training opportunities. 


Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

"Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation".


The “Made in Africa” manufacturing component of this project will strive to close the "manufacturing value added per capita" gap. The figure for Europe and North America amounted to US$4,621, compared to about $100 in the least developed countries. The focus on STEM education will ensure future readiness for faster innovation. Africa to be acknowledged as a leader in world sport and recreation, including at the level of its contribution to sports research. 


Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

"Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable."[


The project will strive to reduce the proportion of urban population living in slums or informal settlements by providing an economic stimulus to the local economies. We will use sport and recreation as a medium for building social cohesion and sustainable communities. Inclusion of sport and recreation in Local Economic Development Plans and Municipal Integrated Development Plans


Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

"Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels."


We are wholly committed to the eradication of sex trafficking, forced labor, and all forms of violence against and torture of children. An ethical and drug-free sporting society. 


Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

"Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.“


Increasing international cooperation is seen as vital to achieving each of the goals. By definition, this project is a multi-stakeholder partnerships to share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial support, critical to overall success of the SDGs. 

Facilities

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Academy Facility Requirements

  • Baseball Field 
  • Backstops
  • Sports hall/indoor training space 
  • Weight room 
  • Batting cage(s) 
  • Bullpen(s) 
  • Pool/whirlpool/sauna Equipment (see Appendix A): 
  • Baseball equipment 
  • Athlete development 
  • Safety screens 
  • Testing and measurement devices 
  • Clothing 

Support Staff

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Academy Support Staff

  •  Specialized coaching experience 
  • Physiotherapist 
  • Medical – orthopedic and doctor 
  • Sports science – training/testing/rehabilitation 
  • Academic advisor 
  • Nutritionist/cook 
  • “Family” 

Equipment

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Recommended equipment, training, and apparel needs (per 10 players)

     

500     Baseballs

300 .   Tennis balls

100 .   Wiffle balls

10 .     Weighted balls

10 .     Composite bats

5         Batting Tees

2 .      Stopwatches

1 .      Radar Gun

1 .      Video camera

Training

     

30 .     Cones

10 .     Tubing/Sport cords

10 .     Medicine balls

10 .     Hurdles

3 .       Swiss balls

2 .       Ladders 

Safety

     

2 per cage + 1 per field .     L-Screens

1 per cage + 3 per field .     Square screens

2                                               Sock nets

10                                             Helmets

2                                              Catcher’s gear 

Apparel

     

20 .     T-shirts or Undershirts

20 .     Baseball pants

10 .     Shorts

10 .     Indoor shoes

10 .     Spikes

10 .     Baseball caps

10 .     Gloves