The League 42 Foundation has reached $3.6 million on its $6 million Kids First Campaign. The focus of the campaign is the construction of a youth education center, a fourth baseball field and renovations to three existing ballfields are the focus of the campaign with the 10,500 square foot education center, to be used for after-school tutoring for League 42 players, its centerpiece.
“Our funding effort to build an education center and fourth ballfield has reached an important benchmark,” said Board Chair Matt Vos. “We have been awarded a $400,000 challenge grant from the JE & LE Mabee Foundation of Tulsa to assist with the capital portion of our campaign.”
The new Leslie Rudd Learning Center will be located at 1212 E. 17th, just across the street to the north of our baseball complex at McAdams Park and will include a 23-station computer lab, an indoor baseball training area/community center and the organization’s first-ever office space. The new location for the center will be the former site of the Thunderbird bus company.
“We are proud to announce we will be building the Leslie Rudd Education Center,” said Bob Lutz, League 42 Executive Director. “The Rudd Foundation’s $1 million leadership gift will be helping Wichita children for decades to come. We are proud to honor Leslie, who was a supporter of the Wichita community for decades during his lifetime.”
Rudd passed away in 2018. He was an entrepreneur and philanthropist who owned Standard Beverage and many other businesses. In 2017, Rudd established the Rudd Scholars Program, which provides full-ride college funding scholarships, along with academic and life mentoring, for Pell-eligible Kansans seeking to attend either Wichita State, Fort Hays State or Emporia State. Over
100 Kansas high school graduates have already benefited from this program.
Kids First Campaign leaders also announced the involvement of several of Wichita’s premier companies and foundations.
“Cargill, Fidelity Bank, INTRUST Bank, Spirit AeroSystems, The Lattner Family Foundation, the Meyer Charitable Trust and David Murfin have helped us reach the $3.6 million mark,” said Campaign Committee Member Jeff DeGraffenreid. “Individual donors have also made gifts totaling more than half a million to-date.”
“When we started League 42 eight years ago, it was with the specific mission of using a team sport – baseball – to help kids 5 to 14,” said Bob Lutz. “Its about more than baseball. Kids learn the values of commitment, teamwork, fair play, and personal responsibility. They build character and a can-do spirit. These are the skill sets that will serve them throughout life.”
“The Leslie Rudd Education Center is part of further achieving this vision. After school and during the summer, this facility will be operated by education professionals helping these children focus on homework and learning. The commitment of Cargill and others is directly related to this mission and vision. We are grateful to each donor who has joined us. Their gifts communicate their commitment to placing ‘kids first’ in our city.”
For more information on the KIDS FIRST Campaign, call Bob Lutz, executive director, at 316-655-1028 or reach out to him via email at league42wichita.gmail.com.