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Cubs give away more than $1 million at annual charity event

The Cubs gave away more than $1 million to local nonprofits Wednesday with a promise of more to come at their annual Cubs Care charity luncheon.

“We need a bigger room, and the good news is it’s coming,” Michael Lufrano, the Cubs’ vice president of community affairs, said to a packed room at Wrigley Field’s Audi Club.

Lufrano promised that there will be a larger space next year at Wrigley to hold the event. Outside the Audi Room’s windows on Sheffield, cranes and construction crews continued work on the ongoing renovations at Wrigley.

David Hiller, president and CEO of the McCormick Foundation that runs the Cubs’ charity fund, took a moment to note the events in Baltimore, where the White Sox and Orioles were playing a game with no fans in attendance.
“We have our issues in Chicago, lord knows, but we are working on them…it’s based on all the amazing work you all are doing,” Hiller said.Len Kasper, who hosted the event, couldn’t resist commenting on the start to the Cubs’ season, saying “I know we’re good” because he has already gotten a tweet from a fan complaining that Kris Bryant hasn’t hit a home run yet.

Shortstop Starlin Castro posed for photos with the grant recipients along with Clark the Cub and Cubs Charities chair Laura Ricketts. Team president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and chairman Tom Ricketts also attended.One of the recipients, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, runs the RBI Reviving Baseball in the Inner City program. The Cubs’ donation provides equipment, uniforms and instruction for about 300 teens in the poorest areas of the city.

“The whole program is structured to give kids an opportunity to stay out of gang violence and give them something positive,” Ernest Radcliffe, a coach with the RBI program, said in a statement.

Other beneficiaries included Ronald McDonald House charities, Lurie Children’s Hospital, the Center on Halsted, and the Night Ministry. The Cubs raise funds through personal scoreboard messages, events such as the Cubs Convention, the Race to Wrigley, which was just held last Saturday, the Bricks and Ivy Ball, and donations.

Among those who donated $5,000 or more to Cubs charities in 2014 are pitcher Edwin Jackson, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, Governor Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, and the Sun-Times foundation.

Outside the Cubs annual lunch Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley, construction continued on Sheffield. | Jordan Owen

Outside the Cubs annual lunch Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley, construction continued on Sheffield. | Jordan Owen

Clark the Cub attended the annual Cubs Care luncheon Wednesday at the Audi Club inside Wrigley Field. | Jordan Owen

Clark the Cub attended the annual Cubs Care luncheon Wednesday at the Audi Club inside Wrigley Field. | Jordan Owen