20th Century Fox Television has donated $25,000 worth of sports equipment to Sylmar Independent Baseball League, Inc. (SIBL), a nonprofit youth baseball and softball league serving communities in Los Angeles. The donation consists of gear used during the production of FOX’s drama series Pitch, which chronicled the fictional story of the first female player in the major leagues. 21st Century Fox worked with the series for nearly a year to create campaigns and forge partnerships that promote the achievements of female athletes and expand access to sports for women and girls across the country.
Located in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, SIBL has served Sylmar and its surrounding communities for more than 60 years, providing sports programming for children 16 and under. This past season alone, the organization taught more than 450 young athletes the fundamentals of baseball and softball, as well as the values of sportsmanship and teamwork, and multiple teams won division titles across the state. Newly elected LA City Councilmember Monica Rodriguez connected Fox with SIBL, which is located in her district.
The donation marks the end of nearly a year’s worth of social impact efforts surrounding Pitch, reflecting the role that inspirational stories play in providing the motivation and encouragement necessary for young athletes to succeed. In September 2016, 21CF announced it would expand the company’s existing support of the Women’s Sports Foundation. The company partnered with WSF’s Sports 4 Life program, which awards grants to schools, parks and recreation departments, nonprofits, or amateur sports leagues that encourage the participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls ages 11-18 in developmental programs.
FOX Sports has supported the Women's Sports Foundation since 2014, partnering with other sports networks to contribute a collective $2 million to the foundation's work. FOX also supports WSF's Annual Salute to Women in Sports, a gala recognizing the world's top female athletes.
In addition, FOX partnered with LeanIn.Org for a digital campaign featuring the cast and crew of Pitch in conversation about the struggles they’ve faced and the strides they’ve made as women in male-dominated fields. The video series featured series stars Kylie Bunbury and Ali Larter, as well as executive producer Helen Bartlett, all speaking about the value of positive representation of women on screen.
"Growing up, watching certain things [on television] made an impact on me and my life, so I think representation of women is important on TV; it's vital," Bunbury said before talking about the support she always found from her mother: "She always reassured me that I'm capable of anything and that I'm enough. That's the message of this show, and it's not just for women; it's for everyone: you are capable. You are enough."