United Way of Greater St. Louis hits a home run with new partnership

Embarking on a new chapter, Adam Wainwright is certainly not planning to relax into retirement anytime soon.  He’s busy working on a Major League Baseball broadcasting career, releasing his first country music album, and now Wainwright and his nonprofit Big League Impact (BLI) are teaming up with United Way of Greater St. Louis to create volunteer opportunities for Major League players in all MLB markets.

BLI was founded by Wainwright in 2013 and has played a key part in helping MLB players tap into what inspires them and pairing them with volunteer opportunities based on their passion and interests.

Through BLI, they have participated in volunteer opportunities such as packaging meals and serving meals to the homeless, working in community gardens, playing sports and reading books with youth, and more.

In St. Louis alone, United Way’s Volunteer Center offers 2,300 opportunities for people to serve and that can expand with this new partnership which will offer opportunities for players to serve even more people nationwide.

“You have two organizations who are trying to do great things and trying to help people,” said Wainwright. “If we’re both trying to help people, there should be some sort of partnership there. United Way has a long history of doing incredible work here in the city, so it was a natural fit.”

For nearly 20 years, Wainwright enjoyed tremendous success on the baseball diamond, leading the Cardinals to two World Series championships. But ever since his youth, he knew life was more than just being a great athlete.

Growing up, he understood the value of neighbors helping neighbors because he was raised by a single mother and older brother who occasionally needed help from family and friends. Experiencing those moments made him more compassionate towards people in need, so he eventually became involved with charitable organizations and community initiatives to help give back.

Adam later realized the platform he had through his baseball career could leverage the values he learned growing up.

“My upbringing and faith have led me to a place where I know the things, opportunities, finances, and time that I’ve been given is not just for me,” said Wainwright. “What we do with our time, talent and treasures is the motto that we live by.”

After sponsoring eight charity golf tournaments, Wainwright started feeling the impact of helping others. He knew he could do more, and he wanted teammates and friends around the league to get involved, and so Big League Impact was born.

“There are players all around the league that have these giant platforms and many of them just don’t know how and what to do with them,” said Wainwright. “They want to help, they just don’t know how to help; they want to do great things, but they don’t know who to get involved with to help them do that.”

Teaming up with United Way and its Volunteer Center will provide year-round resources to assist BLI members and its front office staff in finding meaningful service opportunities. The Volunteer Center will create a private and secure resource page for them to access service opportunities and partner with Lyft to ensure players have transportation to and from volunteer events.

“To have a St. Louis legend like Adam Wainwright join forces with our team to get people involved in service to the community is truly a home run,” said Michelle Tucker, President and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis. “Big League Impact and United Way’s goals are perfectly aligned, and this partnership will allow both organizations to expand our outreach and help more people.”

Until the final out of his 200th win, every moment in between uniquely bonds Wainwright and St. Louis. He’s always had a deep desire to help people thrive here and with United Way, they can help communities league-wide.

“St. Louis is home for us now, we have been here 18+ seasons and have been a part of [BLI] for 10+ years,” said Wainwright. “Big League Impact is now home in St. Louis and to partner with United Way of Greater St. Louis was a powerful and great partnership for us. There’s a lot of good that can come together between the two of us and I can’t wait to see what we do going forward.

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    Rodney Humphries
    Rodney Humphries

    Rodney Humphries is the Communications Specialist for United Way of Greater St. Louis and a proud graduate of Webster University where he developed his passion for writing. In college, he combined his love for writing and sports, serving as the primary sports writer for his school newspaper while also developing his own sports blog. After graduating, he continued his love for writing as he served as a freelance writer for various publications. Rodney continues to be a fan of Webster athletics, you will often see him sitting courtside at a lot of their basketball games.