The Indianapolis Indians (Class AAA; International League) set a new franchise record for total charitable giving in 2019, doing so for the third consecutive year. Including monetary donations and in-kind contributions, the Tribe gave back $583,623 to community organizations in fiscal year 2019. The Indians operate with a fiscal year of October 1- September 30.
Earlier this offseason, the team announced a new 501(C)(3) organization, Indianapolis Indians Charities, focused on uplifting Central Indiana youth and families through partnerships with local nonprofits who work in youth development, family success, education and neighborhood development.
Of the $583,623 in charitable contributions in 2019, $307,823 came from monetary donations to community events and in-stadium fundraising during Tribe games. The other $275,800 came from gifts in- kind of donated tickets, merchandise and mascot appearances.
“The Indians have been a community asset for a long time, and we continue to value our role in giving back,” said Indians President and General Manager Randy Lewandowski. “One of the most impactful ways we work with our partners is providing them the platform of Victory Field and the nearly 600,000 fans that attend home games each season. Now we’re finding new ways to work outside our walls, like Indianapolis Indians Charities and the continued dedication of our staff volunteering their time around Central Indiana.”
The Indians front office volunteered for 40 organizations in 2019, totaling more than 1,486 hours, another team record. The club instituted a staff volunteer program last season that allows employees to volunteer for local organizations during office hours throughout the year. Tribe players also got involved, making 40 appearances for 175 service hours.
Fans were instrumental in two initiatives in 2019—specialty jersey auctions and Thirsty Thursdays at Victory Field. The Indians auctioned off eight specialty jerseys for themes ranging from the team’s new Circle City alternate logo to MARVEL Super Heroes to Indy 500 Night to Stars & Stripes on Independence Day. Fan participation from the auctions drove the total donation for the season to nearly $55,500, another franchise record.
Thirsty Thursdays also received strong fan support in 2019. The new promotion offered discounted soda and draft domestic, premium and craft beer, including $1 from every Sun King craft beer purchase going to a different local nonprofit every Thursday night. The Tribe donated nearly $10,000 to eight non-profits through the Thursday promotion.