The Oakland A’s, in partnership with the Wheelchair Foundation, will present 2,500 wheelchairs to the needy people of the Dominican Republic on November 9th at the team’s Dominican baseball academy in La Victoria.
A’s team President Michael Crowley, Wheelchair Foundation founder Ken Behring, along with A’s players Miguel Tejada, Jose Ortiz, Luis Vizcaino and Mario Encarnarcion will be on hand for the presentation ceremony. Also scheduled to attend are Rosa Mejia, the First Lady of the Dominican Republic, Doctora Milagros, Vice President of the Dominican Republic and Charles Manatt, United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. In addition, the A’s and Wheelchair Foundation will make a second presentation on Friday, November 10th in Bani, the hometown of A’s shortstop Miguel Tejada.
The Wheelchair Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs to men, women and children throughout the world who cannot otherwise afford one, was launched on June 13th, when philanthropist Ken Behring contributed $15 million toward a new international effort of purchasing and delivering one million wheelchairs over the next five years.
The A’s and Wheelchair Foundation announced their partnership on September 12th, when the club agreed to purchase 2,500 wheelchairs through its community fund.
The new foundation, which has already established partnerships with such service organizations as the American Red Cross, Hope Worldwide, Operation USA, Hope Haven and the Mobility Project, seeks to bring independence and dignity to people who have been deprived of mobility by war, disease, accident, natural disaster or old age. The effort has already attracted significant international support. The Foundation’s International Board of Advisors, co-chaired by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, includes former South African President Nelson Mandela, former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing and the First Lady of Guatemala, Evelyn de Portillo. Behring, a successful businessman turned philanthropist and former owner of the Seattle Seahawks football team, has personally delivered hundreds of wheelchairs this year to Romania, Vietnam, the Crow Indian Nation in Montana, Guatemala, Brazil and Botswana.
“The A’s have enjoyed a long relationship with the wonderful people of the Dominican Republic, both on and off the field,” said team President Michael Crowley. “The Wheelchair Foundation gives people a new sense of hope, dignity and independence. The A’s organization is pleased to share Ken Behring’s vision in this act of pure humanity.”
For more information about Wheelchair Foundation, visit www.wheelchairfoundation.org.