ST. LOUIS — The Pujols Family Foundation partners with a number of other St. Louis-area organizations — including Missouri Baptist University — to benefit people with Down syndrome and the poor in the Dominican Republic.
Events and fundraisers have garnered monies for the foundation Albert and Deidre Pujols started in 2005.
But what effect will Pujols' decision to play for the Los Angeles Angels have on the St. Louis-based foundation?
While it may be too early to tell, the foundation is committed to its local partnerships. CEO Todd Perry said the organization has no plans to move at this point.
"Obviously, Albert's visibility and accessibility during the year will be limited…." he said by phone on Jan. 18. "But we are committed to our partnerships in St. Louis as much as ever before…. For sure we are not going to abandon any of the work we're doing in St. Louis. We're going to continue doing what we do stronger than ever."
MBU plans to stick with the foundation as long as it remains in St. Louis, according to Keith Ross, senior vice president for institutional advancement.
"We're just going to move forward with them as long as they are here," Ross said. Partnering with the foundation "ties in with our mission."
MBU started working with the Pujols Family Foundation about 18 months ago. The university always hosts a golf tournament in the spring with part of the proceeds supporting school programs and part benefiting the community. Last spring, MBU shared with Pujols' organization.
Then last fall, MBU hosted Pujols' charity basketball tournament in its new sports and recreation facility. "We all got a chance to meet Albert and Deidre and hear their vision…. The students became excited to get involved with Down syndrome," Ross said. "We're committed to our partnership."
Perry believes Pujols' move will give the foundation a broader base and appeal. "It made us focus on the big picture…by taking a more national point of view. We think that's where God wants us to be anyway…not just St. Louis or Southern Cali_fornia," he said.
"Albert's visibility is going to make it possible for us to take it to the next level…. We are seeking the Lord's guidance on this…to figure out how to best serve those we have been called to serve."