Rafters Continue Tradition of Giving Back To Community in 2016
Members of the Never Forgotten Honor Flight Executive Committee were presented a check earlier this month. (Pictured left to right: Mike Thompson, President-Never Forgotten Honor Flight; John Fanta, Rafters General Manager; Melanie McDonald, Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa PR Manager; Jim Campbell, VP of Marketing-Never Forgotten Honor Flight)
Rafters Continue Tradition of Giving Back To Community in 2016
Partnerships With Local Businesses Benefit Local Organizations
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are proud to announce that through partnerships with local businesses they have raised money to donate over $25,000 to local non-profit organizations. The Rafters were able to use a variety of different formats to raise money throughout the 2016 season.
Always popular nights amongst fans, alternate jerseys worn by the Rafters during four games during the 2016 season were included in silent auctions, with the proceeds benefitting local organizations. Marshfield Clinic presented “Blackout” Melanoma Awareness Night on June 12th and sponsored a black jersey to represent the many forms of skin cancer. All proceeds benefitted Marshfield Clinic cancer research. Fey Printing turned back the clock to the Wisconsin Rapids Twins days on June 28th by presenting a powder-blue throwback jersey, with all proceeds going to SWEPS (South Wood Emergency Pantry Shelf). Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa partnered with the Rafters for Military Appreciation Night on July 28th and presented the first-ever American flag jersey. All proceeds from this auction was donated to the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, which flies American heroes to Washington D.C. to visit their memorials. Advanced Disposal provided some holiday cheer with an Elf themed jersey worn by the Rafters on August 6th for Christmas in August Night. Proceeds from the Elf jersey benefitted the Boys and Girls Club of Wisconsin Rapids. On the same night, the Rafters held a Toys for Tots drive to help the local fire department’s mission.
The Rafters play on the field also helped contribute to the tremendous amount of money donated this season as well. Through a partnership with Duncan Disability Law, each time the Rafters stole a base during a home game at Witter Field, a donation of $20 was made to The Family Center of Wisconsin Rapids. For the 2016 season, the Rafters finished with 31 stolen bases in games played at historic Witter Field.
Duncan Disability Law also was the presenting sponsor of the first two relief pitchers entering each home game in 2016. Duncan Disability Law donated $10 to Special Olympics for each one of the 64 relief pitchers they sponsored in 2016.
For each home run hit by the Rafters at home Spectrum Insurance Group and West Bend Mutual Insurance made a donation of $75 to the South Wood County YMCA. The Rafters finished the season with 26 home runs hit at Witter Field.
Incourage Community Foundation and the Rafters partnered together to provide funds for the annual 4th of July fireworks show in Wisconsin Rapids. One dollar from each bag of cotton candy sold at Witter Field went to the fireworks fund. In total there were 1,060 bags of Cotton Candy sold during the 2016 season. The Rafters and Incourage also partner together to provide the Lil’ Rafters Reading Program. Elementary school students in the Wisconsin Rapids area are given two free tickets to a Rafters game if they are able to complete a predetermined reading requirement set by their teacher. For the 2016 season, over 700 students in the district completed the program. Incourage also presents 2 for 1 tickets to fans that drop off non-perishable food items at one select Rafters game each season.
On top of the melanoma awareness themed alternate jersey, Marshfield Clinic also partnered with the Rafters to provide donations to local Little League programs in the Wisconsin Rapids area such as WRYSA, Nekoosa, Pittsville, Vesper, Rudolph, and Marshfield Little Leagues. For each extra base hit (double, triple, home run) the Rafters tallied this season at Witter Field, a donation went into a pool to be divided evenly amongst the Little League programs following the conclusion of the season. During the season, Marshfield Clinic partnered with the Rafters to provide a free skills clinic for kids in the Central Wiscosnin area, in which the participants were able to learn and work on their baseball skills with members of the Rafters team and coaching staff
The Rafters partnered with Sears Hometown Store and Rapids Family Backpacks for the inaugural “Fill the Backpacks” tennis ball toss promotion for the 2016 season. On nine dates, fans had the opportunity to purchase numbered tennis balls and then take aim at a washing machine positioned on the field near the third baseline, during one promotional break of the Rafters game each night. Any fan that made their ball into the washer received two free tickets to attend the final home game on August 12th for a chance to win a new washing machine from Sears Hometown Store. The tennis ball toss raised $1,679. Rapids Family Backpacks is a weekend meal in a backpack program for families facing hunger at select Wisconsin Rapids Elementary Schools. Backpack meals are intended for the whole family, not just the child, and encourage nutritious family meals. The program is in its fifth year and currently serves four schools: Grove, Howe, Mead, and Washington Elementary Schools. In total, approximately 45 backpacks are filled weekly, serving nearly 200 people between October and May. The program is run completely through grants and community donations.
Witter Field was again the site for the Hunger Coalition Food Sculpture event “United We Can” on June 15th this summer. In partnership with United Way along with the support of local businesses, the event was able to leverage roughly 6,000 pounds of food that was distributed to five local food programs in South Wood County. With the Rafters’ help, the event has been able to leverage over 25,000 pounds of food in the past four years through this event.
The Rafters and Team Schierl Companies partnered together to create t-shirts which were sold to fans to benefit the Boys and Girls Club as well as proceeds from raffle ticket sales corresponding the world famous Klements Racing Sausages that took place at the game on July 29th.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters also take great pride in working with local non-profit organizations by providing donation bags filled with Rafters merchandise. In 2016, over 175 charitable donations were made by the Rafters. In addition, the team made over 80 free appearances in the community featuring members of the Rafters’ Cranberry Crew, Rafters players, and team mascot Rosco P. Rafter.
The Rafters would like to thank all corporate sponsors and the community as a whole for all of your continued support, which assists our organization in its charitable works.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.