BATTLE CREEK, Mich., Nov. 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A championship coed baseball team, nearly undefeated for five years and counting, hasn't enjoyed a home field advantage in years. That's the reality of the last five seasons for the young athletes at KIPP Ujima Village Academy (KIPP), a Baltimore middle school with facilities that were not equipped to host home games for its title-holding, coed baseball team.
That all changed today thanks to a true champion of all middle school athletes: Tony the Tiger®. Along with Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed, Tony surprised KIPP students, coaches and administrators with a game-changing Mission Tiger donation that will enable the school to add teams, improve facilities, offer more opportunities to play and even bring home its coed baseball squad after years of games played away from home.
"This is that other Baltimore baseball streak, the one no one likes talking about, and it's time to do something about it," said Brant Wheaton, marketing director of Kellogg U.S. ready-to-eat cereal segment. "Tony the Tiger is on a mission to save middle school sports, and what better place to show that commitment than a school like KIPP where we can make an immediate impact for their young athletes and their community."
Amongst other improvements, Mission Tiger, an initiative to help save middle schools sports nationwide, will provide a new field, complete with dugouts, fencing and a new backstop so that KIPP's team can finally host home games this spring.
"Thanks to Mission Tiger, we'll have the opportunity to play a game on our home field in front of family and friends — it's going to be incredible," Justin Garritt, a teacher and coach at KIPP Ujima Village Academy said. "This generous gift will allow us to continue our coed programs as we teach our students skills that will last long after they have left the fields at KIPP."
Across the board, KIPP has faced budget challenges that have prompted cuts to its sports programs beyond baseball. What's more, KIPP students were recently relocated to a new school building that now does not meet middle school regulations, leaving teams sidelined and students benched.
Mission Tiger is helping to remedy that. The donation will allow KIPP to bring back its flag football team. Moreover, it will revamp the gymnasium with much-needed updates, including safe basketball backboards, renovated bleachers and a new scoreboard. A new gym divider will allow multiple teams to practice at the same time and make it easier for more students to participate. The KIPP teams will also receive new jerseys so they can play with pride.
TONY'S NEW TEAMMATE
Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed is the latest to join Mission Tiger alongside other athlete superstars. Not only known as a football great but also as a father, Reed passionately believes in the importance of team sports in a child's life, and he is dedicated to making access to sports a priority in a community that he called home for a majority of his career.
"I believe in the life changing power of sports and that's why I am proud to partner with Tony to not only help the students at KIPP, but raise awareness throughout Baltimore and beyond," said Reed. "Middle school is such an important time for kids to develop their passions – and sports allow them to learn teamwork, persistence and the importance of hard work – all of which can lead to a brighter future."
Since Mission Tiger launched in August 2019, the program has helped more than 161,000 kids nationwide get better access to sports by funding middle school sports programs in need.
JOIN THE MISSION
Mission Tiger launched in August with a $1 million dollar commitment to DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting public schools nationwide. For every Kellogg's Frosted Flakes® box purchase, a $1 donation* is sparked by uploading a receipt to Kellogg's Family Rewards™ via MissionTiger.com. Thanks to fans coast to coast, schools like KIPP Ujima Village Academy are able to ensure their kids have better access to play.
Whether a favorite athletic program has been cut or a local team needs new uniforms, visit MissionTiger.com today. There fans can see requests from middle schools seeking funds and join our team. Mission Tiger middle school sports projects are fulfilled by Tony's partner, DonorsChoose.
*Kellogg is donating $1 per purchase to DonorsChoose.org with Kellogg's Frosted Flakes receipt upload. Minimum donation $500,000; maximum donation $1,000,000. Go to MissionTiger.com for instructions. Applies to purchases between 8/5/19 and 8/5/20; must upload within 30 days of purchase.
About Kellogg Company
At Kellogg Company (NYSE: K), we strive to enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter. Our beloved brands include Pringles®, Cheez-It®, Special K®, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes®, Pop-Tarts®, Kellogg's Corn Flakes®, Rice Krispies®, Eggo®, Mini-Wheats®, Kashi®, RXBAR® and more. Net sales in 2018 were approximately $13.5 billion, comprised principally of snacks and convenience foods like cereal and frozen foods. Kellogg brands are beloved in markets around the world. We are also a company with Heart & Soul, committed to creating Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030 through our Kellogg's® Better Days global purpose platform. Visit www.KelloggCompany.com or www.OpenforBreakfast.com.
DonorsChoose is the leading way to give to public schools. Since 2000, more than 4 million people and partners have contributed $893 million to support 1.5 million teacher requests for classroom resources and experiences. As the most trusted crowdfunding platform for teachers, donors, and district administrators alike, DonorsChoose vets each request, ships the funded resources directly to the classroom, and provides thank yous and reporting to donors and school leaders. Charity Navigator and GuideStar have awarded DonorsChoose, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, their highest ratings for transparency and accountability. For more information, visit www.donorschoose.org.
About KIPP Baltimore
KIPP Baltimore currently serves more than 1,500 students and nearly 1,200 alumni through an elementary charter school, KIPP Harmony Academy, middle charter school, KIPP Ujima Village Academy, and an alumni support program called KIPP Through College (KTC). KIPP schools are part of the free public school system and enrollment is open to all students.
SOURCE Kellogg Company