The Winfield Foundation
Dave Winfield was the first active athlete to establish a charitable foundation. From its humble beginnings in 1975, to an internationally acclaimed substance abuse prevention leader, the David M. Winfield Foundation, with a $4 million endowment (funded primarily by Winfield), provided services to underprivileged youth, families in need, and the cities in which he played.
WINFIELD PAVILION PROGRAM (1975-1991)
In 1975, Dave bought blocks of tickets to Padres games for kids in San Diego. The program was expanded to all National League cities, and when he joined the Yankees in 1981, to American League cities. In 1978, Dave planned to bring 500 kids to the All-Star Game in San Diego. In a radio interview the day before, he inadvertently invited "all the kids of San Diego" to attend. Over 10,000 showed up -- and Winfield brought them all into batting practice. It was the first open All-Star batting practice. He staged similar events in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal and Minneapolis. MLB has since opened All-Star batting practice to raise funds for local charities as a result of this Foundation program.
HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS (1981-1986)
By far everyone's favorite program, the Foundation distributed toys, clothing and complete holiday dinners to over 12,000 families-in-need at holiday celebrations in New York and New Jersey.
SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS (from 1976)
Winfield launched the Winfield Student-Athlete Award in 1976 for outstanding high school graduates. The scholarship started in St. Paul, Minnesota and then the program was brought to New York (1981-1986) where $40,000 was awarded annually to students from public schools. The Foundation also provided scholarship awards to winners of the citywide Spelling Bee, Art Expo, Orchestra, Chorus, Science and Golden Hoops. Recipients have attended such universities as Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Julliard, Morehouse School of Medicine, NYU, Pace, Princeton and Yale. Over 350 students have continued their higher education through the Winfield Scholarship Program.
In conjunction with Scripps Clinic in San Diego, the Foundation introduced H.O.P.E. (Health Optimization Planning and Education), a program that combined proper diet, exercise with medical and dental checkups.
Prior to a Pavilion, clinics were conducted in the stadium parking lot. When the program was expanded to Minnesota and New York, clinics were conducted on-site at hospitals or in mobile units in under-served areas. Over 40,000 kids have benefited from these clinics. Winfield also funded the Dave Winfield Nutrition Center at Hackensack Hospital, still in operation.
San Diego Padres' Friar Fit
In 2008, the San Diego Padres established a new fitness initiative, FriarFit, in collaboration with the San Diego Childhood Obesity Initiative, The California Endowment (a statewide health foundation), and SportService (PETCO Park concessionaire). FriarFit's long-term goal is to improve the health and fitness of San Diegans
SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION (from 1985)
In 1985, the primary focus of the Winfield Foundation became substance abuse prevention. Research revealed the average age for first-use of drugs was 10, and Dave saw a clear need for early intervention.
The Foundation, in conjunction with such notable children's advocates as Sesame Street, introduced TURN IT AROUND! -- a lifeskills development program targeted to children 8-12. Consisting of a 22-minute interactive video, 32 page activity guide -- and a full-day "train-the-trainer" seminar for adult leaders, TURN IT AROUND! was used across the country and internationally. In 1994, the program was translated into Spanish and was brought to public schools in Puerto Rico.
WIN WITH WINFIELD (1992)
When Dave joined the Toronto Blue Jays, he created Win With Winfield -- a season-long fundraising campaign to benefit the children of Toronto. For every home run he hit, Winfield donated a $1000 – and corporate and individual sponsors matched the gift. Over $80,000 was raised for Children's Breakfast Clubs in public schools.