Toronto's professional sports teams kick-off $1.4 million "Team Up For Youth" partnership

    Blue Jays, Argonauts, Maple Leafs and Raptors come together to support
    the Youth Challenge Fund and young people across the city

    TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Toronto's four major league sports teams joined
together Thursday at Rogers Centre to launch 'Team Up For Youth' - a
partnership among the teams' charitable arms and the Youth Challenge Fund
    The Youth Challenge Fund makes direct, grassroots investments in
youth-driven initiatives that focus on creative approaches to engaging youth
and providing opportunities for education, employment and leadership.
Initiated by the Province of Ontario, the Youth Challenge Fund is actively
governed by a 22-member community board made up of a broad cross-section of
community leaders. United Way Toronto is the Fund's trustee, providing
allocations and fund development support.
    Representatives from the Blue Jays, Argos, Maple Leafs and Raptors
celebrated the launch with young people from YCF-funded initiatives during the
final home game of Blue Jays' season. As batting practice concluded on the
field, representatives from YCF thanked Toronto's professional sports teams
for being part of a groundbreaking partnership that will create opportunities
for youth living in the city's 13 priority neighbourhoods.
    "Whether it's on grass, ice or hardwood, Toronto's athletes are
outstanding role models for our city's youth," said Lew Golding, a Youth
Challenge Fund board member. "'Team Up For Youth' is a remarkable
demonstration of leadership in action - a partnership that reaches out to
young people to make sure they have every opportunity to achieve their full
    Toronto's sports teams are contributing $700,000 to 'Team Up For Youth' -
an impressive donation that will be matched by the Government of Ontario to
create a $1.4 million investment in the lives of young people across Toronto.
    "With over 600 community appearances a year, the Toronto Argonauts are
Toronto's No. 1 community team through player involvement, community programs
and The Argos Foundation," said Brad Watters, Chief Operating Officer, Toronto
Argonauts Football Club. "We believe that the impact we make off the field is
just as important as the impact we make on the field. The Argos are thrilled
to come together with the other sports teams and to raise funds for youth in
areas of Toronto in need."
    "The Jays Care Foundation focuses on working with programs that support
physical activity, education and life-skill development within our City's
youth," commented Melinda Rogers, Chairman Board of Directors, Jays Care
Foundation. "We are extremely pleased that our growing relationship with Youth
Challenge Fund has led to the development of the 'Team Up for Youth' program.
Through this initiative we will be able to broaden our reach within the
community continuing to provide children in need with access to constructive
    "The Leafs and Raptors are excited to be involved in a program that will
make a tremendous difference for Toronto's youth," said Tom Anselmi, executive
vice-president and chief operating officer of Maple Leaf Sports &
Entertainment. "Our players and coaches value their role as leaders in the
community and use opportunities and initiatives such as the Youth Challenge
Fund to drive their commitment to creating positive experiences for Toronto's
young people, especially those at-risk. Partnering with our friends at the
Jays and Argos to support the Youth Challenge Fund is a wonderful way to give
back to our city's youth and the communities that support us."
    Another component of the 'Team Up For Youth' partnership is an
opportunity to increase public knowledge of the Youth Challenge Fund through
YCF-themed game nights. Each team will host a "YCF Night" at a home game this
fall to help build awareness of the organization among the teams' fan bases.
The scheduled "YCF Nights" are as follows:

    Thursday, September 25:      Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees
    Friday, September 26:        Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
    Saturday, September 27:      Toronto Argonauts vs. Calgary Stampeders
    Thursday, October 16:        Toronto Raptors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Kennedy Baker, Youth Challenge
Fund, (416) 507-3290 ext. 369,; Nadia Flaim,
Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club, (416) 341-1119,;
Rajani Kamath, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, (416) 815-5790; Beth
Waldman, Toronto Argonauts Football Club, (416) 341-2720,

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