Evan Arnold, 18, of Neenah, Wis., a senior at Neenah High School, started a foundation in 2009 that has delivered more than $55,000 worth of baseball equipment to children in need in 41 countries, and organized one-day baseball clinics for orphans and the children of incarcerated parents in Arizona. Evan has always loved baseball. “My parents have told me the first word I ever spoke was ‘ball’ and when I was a toddler, I would sit on my dad’s lap and watch baseball games on TV,” he said. As he grew older, Evan learned that children around the world shared his love of the game, but many cannot afford proper equipment, so they have to use things like tree branches, metal poles and rolled-up cloth to play baseball.
Evan’s response was to create “Step Up To The Plate,” a foundation dedicated to providing new or gently-used baseball gloves, bats, balls, shoes and uniforms to children in need. To start, Evan created branding and marketing materials, and established a presence on social media. He then reached out to sporting goods stores, thrift stores, minor league baseball teams, parks and recreation departments and youth baseball organizations for donations of new and gently-used equipment. Lacking the funds to ship crates of supplies overseas, Evan persuaded organizations and individuals already traveling abroad to carry his donated equipment with them. In addition to this activity and his baseball clinics in Arizona, Evan was elected last year as president of Peace Is The Goal, Inc., a nonprofit that provides soccer equipment to children in need and has shipped supplies to kids in 140 countries.