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9/12/2013 5:07 P.M. ET

Pittsburgh Pirates and Baseball Tomorrow Fund to host equipment collection

Equipment Donations, BTF Grant to Support Youth Programs in Greater Pittsburgh Area

In support of the ongoing commitment from Major League Baseball, its Clubs and the players to increase opportunities for youth participation in baseball and softball, the Pirates are teaming up with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) to host an equipment collection drive on Federal Street prior to the Friday, September 13 game vs. the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park.

On Friday, fans are invited to donate new and used equipment, which will benefit the Pittsburgh Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program.

In conjunction with the equipment drive, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will award a grant of $5,000 to the Pittsburgh RBI for the purchase of new equipment. Pirates' infielder Jordy Mercer, who is in his first year as a BTF Player Ambassador, will be on hand to present a ceremonial check to representatives from the Pittsburgh RBI during a pre-game ceremony.

This year marks the ninth season the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has teamed with Major League Baseball Clubs to supplement their existing equipment collection programs and to help facilitate the creation of new programs.

Last year, over 12,000 pieces of equipment and nearly $300,000 in monetary contributions were donated to youth baseball and softball organizations in Major League markets in conjunction with the Equipment Day initiative. To date, over 100,000 pieces of equipment and approximately $1,550,000 in total monetary donations have benefited organizations in need.

"As we celebrate the ninth season of the Equipment Day initiative, we are excited to see the program continue to grow and expand in its reach," says Cathy Bradley, Executive Director of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. "The Clubs, players, and fans are an integral part of the program's success in giving more children in our communities access to baseball and softball."

The mission of the Pittsburgh RBI program is to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among underserved youth through instructional and competitive play, while encouraging youth to achieve academically, demonstrate good sportsmanship and contribute positively to the community.

About Pirates Charities
Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on three core areas of youth health, fitness and education. Since its inception in 2006, Pirates Charities has distributed more than $3.1 million to organizations and programs committed to improving the lives of children and adults. In 2012, the Pirates and Pirates Charities assisted more than 3,000 organizations. To learn more about Pirates positive impact in the community, visit www.pirates.com/community.

About the Baseball Tomorrow Fund
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) is a joint initiative between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball designed to promote the growth of youth baseball and softball throughout the world by awarding grants to support field renovation and construction projects, equipment and uniform purchases, coaches training material and other selected program expenses. Since its formation by MLB and the MLBPA in 1999, BTF has awarded more than 700 grants totaling $24 million to non-profit and tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia. Approximately 330,000 youth players have benefited from programs and facilities supported by the fund. BTF also facilitates league-wide initiatives including the collection and distribution of new and gently used equipment to organizations in need as well as field maintenance education clinics. For more information, visit baseballtomorrowfund.com and follow BTF on Facebook, Twitter and MLBlogs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.