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BY Todd Britton



Baseball Hall-of-Famers Eddie Murray (l) and Cal Ripken, Jr. (r) with Shaw Sports Turf’s Jason Kyzer, Krista Willey, Phil Barlow, and Chuck McClurg

BALTIMORE, Maryland -

The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF) today announced a partnership with Shaw Sports Turf, naming the Calhoun, Georgia manufacturer, as the exclusive provider of synthetic turf for its Youth Development Parks initiative. The partnership officially commenced at the annual Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Aspire Gala, which raised $2.3 million in one night for Ripken Foundation programs.

“The Ripken name is associated with excellence, and Shaw Sports Turf is a world-class manufacturer with those same values,” said Steve Salem, president of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.  “Working together, we will be able to provide top-quality, safe environments for at-risk youth and communities in-need throughout the country.”

The goal of the Youth Development Park initiative is to develop several unique, multi-purpose, low maintenance fields with synthetic turf that will provide a cohesive recreational and educational experience for underserved young people across the United States. Upon completion of the project, the parks are gifted to a trusted youth-serving organization or local municipality so the children have access, ownership, and pride for their park.

“We use baseball as a hook to get in front of kids and help build character and teach critical life lessons,” said Cal Ripken, Jr.  “Allowing kids to play on world-class fields like those made by Shaw Sports Turf just makes it easier to accomplish that mission.”

The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation continues to have a presence at each of the completed parks, where they create and implement character education programming and clinics, including Badges for Baseball, a multi-faceted mentoring program that partners with local law enforcement as coaches and mentors to at-risk youth.

“We are honored to partner with such a worthwhile charitable organization and people who truly care about the kids they serve,” said Phil Barlow, vice president of Shaw Sports Turf.  “We are looking forward to seeing the impact that our Shaw Sports Turf fields will have throughout the country because of the Ripken Foundation’s efforts.”

The Youth Development Parks initiative, which Shaw Sports Turf will be a part of, has completed 18 parks in 10 states, with an additional 23 fields in development and fundraising phases throughout the country. The goal of the foundation is to complete 50 parks by 2015.

Ripken Video

About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation

The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation uses baseball- and softball-themed programs to help build character and teach critical life lessons to underserved youth residing in America’s most distressed communities.  Founded in 2001 by members of the Ripken family in memory of their patriarch Cal, Sr., the Foundation works to create programs that positively impact at-risk youth through active community partnerships with America’s most successful youth service organizations. The Ripken Foundation uses the baseball and softball field to help teach life’s critical lessons such as perseverance, loyalty, nutrition, hard work and leadership to young people residing in disadvantaged communities. The Foundation is also designing and building Youth Development Parks, multi-purpose, synthetic surface fields in underserved communities to give kids a clean and safe place to play and learn. The Ripken Foundation has impacted over 1 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park initiative and Badges for Baseball programming.

About Shaw Sports Turf
Shaw Sports Turf is a part of Shaw Industries, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.  Shaw Industries is a full flooring provider to the residential and commercial markets, supplying carpet, hardwood, laminate, resilient, and tile/ stone flooring products, as well as synthetic turf.  Shaw Sports Turf is one of the leading synthetic turf companies in North America and has represented quality and innovation for more than two decades with over 1,500 successful installations, including the Baltimore Ravens, Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, Furman University, and the University of Arkansas. Visit for more information.

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