Federal Way National Little League (FWNLL) recently received a grant from the Seattle Mariners, partnering with Microsoft to improve little league grounds and facilities.
FWNLL was one of five Washington little leagues to receive a donation from the Mariners who, along with Microsoft, had volunteers come down and help the little league maintain and upgrade the facilities on May 12.
One of the upgrades as a direct response to the funding was improvements to all dugouts, adding dugout cubbies to store helmets, gloves and bats.
The league applied to the Mariners’ grant and learned they were chosen after an email made it to the inbox of President Teri Foster. “We were happily surprised to receive an email back that we were one of five little leagues selected,” Reuben Morales said.
There was no disclosed dollar amount by the Mariners initially. All the league knew was there were going to be volunteers help with a clean-up day. “Then they surprised us saying they were going to invest $10,000 into the cost of the clean-up day. We used that for tools, and materials,” Morales said. “That was really great, then they added $10,000 and [said] you can use it however you want.”
That money is going to be a huge help for FWNLL. “We have a long list of needs that it can go towards,” Morales and Foster said, almost simultaneously.
Dugout bins and bleachers are surface-level additions for the league. But below the surface, this donation allows the league to offer scholarships for kids to play. “We have around 40-50% of players on scholarships to play,” Morales said. This allows FWNLL to be one of the least expensive leagues in the area to play for. Which in this day and age of economics, is something the league officials say they are proud of.
“When all the costs were going up, we stayed low. Now we have more numbers than pre-COVID … This money will allow us to keep supporting families that can’t afford gloves, cleats, or registration but they want to be here,” Morales said.
Mariners staff were on the grounds interviewing board members and volunteers at the complex for a video that will be shown at T-Mobile Park. The video will be shown on May 28, and Foster will represent the little league and be recognized before the game by Mariners front office employees.