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Clayton Kershaw presented with the Branch Rickey Award

Nov 17, 2013, 11:05 PM EDT

82nd MLB All-Star Game - Batting Practice Getty Images

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw already has plenty of awards to fill up a trophy case. The lefty just won his second NL Cy Young award, he took home the NL Gold Glove award for pitchers in 2011, and he won Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award last year. He was given another award last night — the Branch Rickey Award, for service above self, presented by the Rotary Club of Denver.

Patrick Sullivan of the Denver Post summarized some of the many things Kershaw and his wife Ellen do to give back:

So what have the Kershaws done in their early 20s? They started Kershaw’s Challenge, a foundation that seeks to transform the lives of at-risk children and communities.

Their cornerstone charity, “Arise Africa,” has built and sustained an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia called “Arise Home.” They are leaving for Zambia on Wednesday.

The orphanage is now home to nine children who came from desperate situations. This year, their goal is to rebuild a community school in the heart of Lusaka, adding five additional classrooms and paying salaries for higher educated faculty. They are also drilling a new water well to bring fresh water to the town. Each year, the Kershaws travel to Africa to visit with the children and bring awareness to the issues of diseases and infections related to HIV and AIDS.

Congratulations to Kershaw on the honor. It’s always nice to hear about players using their stature to go above and beyond the call of duty to give back.

  1. chill1184 - Nov 17, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    Congrats to Kershaw

  2. NYTolstoy - Nov 17, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    glad he’s giving so much back. It never gets me ticked when these guys get paid so much when they use their name and money to help in alot of places. I’m glad they go to extra mile even by going there himself. Take that Oprah!

  3. alexo0 - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    Imagine what he could do with $300 million…

  4. twenty1miles - Nov 18, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    This is why Kershaw is one of my favorite non-NYY players.

  5. happytwinsfan - Nov 18, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    maybe i’m just a sour puss, but i’m thinking of the parable of the widows mite and am not impressed

    • Anoesis - Nov 18, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      I can think of a more apt description of your sour puss post, but in the spirit of the man whose story you are referencing I’ll let it go. Perhaps a donation from a poor person makes up a larger percentage of their worth compared to a donation from a rich person, but what the Kershaws are doing isn’t comparable to that parable.

      A poor person putting a couple of small coins into a donation basket, or a rich person putting in a couple hundred coins, is hardly the same as establishing a charity in a faraway land that becomes a continuing benefit for those much less fortunate, let alone traveling to that faraway land every year to make sure things are being done right. The school and the well are in addition to the charity for at-risk kids.

      The Kershaws could easily have just written a fat check, or several smaller checks, to charities of their choice. That would fit the Lesson of the Widow’s Mite. Many wealthy people do that if for no other reason than a tax deduction. Instead they’ve chosen to become personally involved in helping those in need by using their wealth to directly impact folks who are worse than dirt-poor. In addition, they feel the need to spend even more of their own money by flying to Zambia. It ain’t exactly a jet-setter’s idea of a luxury vacation.

      The Kershaws don’t blow their own horn about this, they simply find ways to help those in need and to make the world a little bit better place. You could have done the latter by simply not commenting on this story.

  6. Anoesis - Nov 18, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    With all the narcissistic, self-absorbed, clueless athletes who fill today’s media with their pomposity, it is more than a breath of fresh air to see Clayton Kershaw setting a fine example of what it means to be a solicitous citizen who can see beyond his own world. His folks deserve their own shiny trophy for raising that kid right.

    Along with being a great ambassador for MLB, as well as his country, his outstanding character makes me proud to be a Dodgers fan. His next contract will bring him the level of money only Power Ball winners could ever hope to approach, but it doesn’t seem quite as outrageous when you know he’s spending some of it like this.

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