SEATTLE — In 2016, David Ortiz stepped away from the game of baseball after 20 years of service. Ortiz boasted a transcendent career decorated with various accolades, including ten all-star game appearances, three World Series rings and a heroic performance in the 2004 ALCS, where he led the Red Sox back from a three-zero deficit against their rival Yankees, to advance to the World Series, and win the Red Sox’s first World Series in 86 years.
As phenomenal as he was when he stepped up to bat, David Ortiz has proven his impact to extend outside the game of baseball. The year 2017 marks the ten years anniversary of Ortiz’s inauguration of his charity: The David Ortiz Children’s Fund.
The Red Sox legend was inspired to begin a foundation during a trip to his native country of the Dominican Republic in 2005. Upon arrival, “Big Papi,” as fans know him, was in disarray at the challenges the local children faced against life threatening difficulties. Ortiz vowed to make a difference, returning a year later in 2006, with $200,000 in donations from a fundraiser he had hosted for the CEDIMAT Hospital in the Dominican Republic.
However, Ortiz felt unfulfilled and was determined to continue improving the lives of children in the Dominican Republic. Shortly after his $200,000 donation, Ortiz founded the David Ortiz Children’s Fund with hopes to secure proper medical treatment for children in the Dominican Republic.
The David Ortiz Children’s Fund strongly believes in helping children in the Dominican Republic. Their website states the following: “The David Ortiz Children’s Fund is committed to helping children in New England and the Dominican Republic who do not have access to the critical pediatric services they need.”
With the fortitude set forth by the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, they have successfully raised more than $2 million and have successfully saved the lives of 500 children in the Dominican Republic.
Among The David Ortiz Children’s Fund objectives is their pledged support of complete medical programs at the C.E.D.I.M.A.T. Hospital in the Dominican Republic. One of the main programs the David Ortiz Children’s Fund has helped develop is the C.E.D.I.M.A.T.’s pediatric cardiovascular program. With the help of donations, The David Ortiz Children’s Fund has provided the C.E.D.I.M.A.T.’s pediatric cardiovascular program with internationally aided medical missions for complex cases, in-depth training of the medical staff, and individual cases performed by the local surgeon team.
The David Ortiz Children’s Fund has also agreed to sponsor five medical missions from the United States to the Dominican Republic. With the help of World Pediatric Project and Dominican Hearts, the U.S.-led missions will help 50 children with very complex cases, while also providing training for the local care unit.
Through the David Ortiz Children’s Fund incentive to better health care for children in the Dominican Republic, they have made supporting their cause a fun and interactive experience.
On February 21st, 2017, the David Ortiz Children’s Fund hosted a marathon in the Boston area, with all proceeds going towards fundraising. Bostonians crowded around the event in support of the 14 marathon runners, cheering them on while also raising money through purchases of memorabilia. The marathon successfully raised $108,544, helping take 21 kids from the surgery wait list.
The David Ortiz Children’s Fund most recent endeavor was filled with laughs and excitement by those lucky enough to attend. On June 22nd, 2017, David Ortiz was the subject of an ambush of jokes at “the roast of David Ortiz,” hosted by The David Ortiz Children’s Fund.
Participants of the roast were some of Boston’s favorite celebrities, including Red Sox Second Basemen Dustin Pedroia, New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski and comedian Bill Burr. The roast was a booming success, raising a total of $335,000, all of which is set to be donated to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.
Ortiz finished out his career with 541 Home Runs, something only 27 MLB players have successfully done. However, with the help of the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, Ortiz hopes to surpass his total of 541 home runs with the total amount of children he can save in the Dominican Republic.
As it stands, the David Ortiz Children’s Fund has saved 500 children’s lives, and with the help of donations and continued events, Ortiz hopes to shatter his home run record.
– Patrick Greeley