The Richmond Register

Local News

March 19, 2014

HomeRun 5K scheduled Saturday

Matt Ross Fund

RICHMOND — For the past 10 years, the Matt Ross Fund “So That All May Play” has paid nearly $18,000 in fees and team sponsorships so more than 300 young softball and baseball players can enjoy the game each summer.

The main fundraiser for the nonprofit, HomeRun 5K, is scheduled Saturday at Berea City Park, 1 Pirate Parkway (near Berea Community School).

Race day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. while the race begins at 9 a.m. The race route goes through the city of Berea and will finish back at the city park.

While the fund mostly benefits children from Madison County, some ball players come from neighboring counties because families know they can get assistance, said Linda Ross, who started the fund in 2003 in memory of her late son, Matthew Braden Ross.

A 2000 Berea Community School graduate, Matt died suddenly in the fall of 2002, she said. Her son was an avid baseball fan from an early age.

Linda wanted to help other children enjoy the game her son loved so much by raising money in his memory.

“Children gain so much from their experience playing for the youth league,” Linda said.
Children learn to be part of a team, instilling good sportsmanlike behavior and some humility, whether they liked playing the game or not, she said.

Linda knew from experience how expensive it is to have a child play in a sport, with providing things like uniforms and equipment, so the fund originally paid for those items.

However, after looking at assistance requests, she realized that families also needed help with fees.

With T-ball fees at $60 and rookie, major and minor leagues at $70, some parents with more than one child playing were having a hard time coming up with the money, she said. “How do you choose?”

Although a cap is set on how many children can be helped each year, there are always a greater number of assistance requests. However, through “hard work, determination and good volunteers,” the fund has always been able to cover all requests, she said.

Since 2010, the Matt Ross Fund also has paid out $7,500 in awards for seniors at Berea Community School who are nominated by a teacher or counselor for their dedication to making their dreams come true through continuing education, Linda said. These awards are mostly funded through family and friend donations.

The HomeRun 5K is part of the Berea Championship Series which consists of five races from June through April. Runners who participate in at least three of the five races are eligible to win the series, depending on how they place in each run.

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