Spring Training is the philanthropic backbone of the Scottsdale Charro endeavor

Dennis Robbins

It’s just about this time of year heroes of America’s Pastime begin to refocus and dedicate themselves to being the best player they can be and — the really good ones — focus on making those around them better.

Spring Training in Arizona is like no place else, and at Scottsdale Stadium, 7408 E. Osborn Road, no better experience can be had during the Cactus League.

For many there is nothing better than baseball, sunshine and Scottsdale. But what some might not know is during each game hosted at Scottsdale Stadium an effort to make the lives of many better is under way.

For 57 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

During the 2017 grant cycle, The Charro Foundation provided Scottsdale-focused nonprofits more than $300,000 in grant dollars. The impact of those dollars make a difference in the lives of, at times, the disenfranchised of the community.

In calendar year 2017 The Charro Foundation received three times the amount of grant applications available to be funded, according to Executive Director Dennis Robbins.

In total, The Charro Foundation funded 35 501(c)3 nonprofit charities during last year’s grant cycle and those efforts have a direct impact on the lives of the most vulnerable of the Scottsdale community.

Given the Scottsdale Charros are a volunteer organization, the large majority of fundraising occurs and is retained during Spring Training as the philanthropic outfit has been longtime partners of the San Francisco Giants, and through that partnership positive outreach has been occurring for decades. To learn more about how you can help the good work of the Scottsdale Charros, go to charros.com.

The Scottsdale Independent reached out to Mr. Robbins to better understand the positive effect Spring Training has on the community. This is what he had to say:

•How important is Spring Training to the Scottsdale Charros and what does it allow the group to accomplish?

Spring Training is extremely important to the Scottsdale Charros. Our group was formed to promote Scottsdale through youth, sports and cultural activities. Our first and longest running activity has been to host Spring Training baseball. We are integral to the operations at every Spring Training game at Scottsdale Stadium. We provide security, medical, staffing and insurance for all of the games. We produce, print and sell the Official Spring Training Magazine, which you will encounter upon entering the stadium. So, please purchase one!

We sell most of the advertising in the stadium and we host the Charro Lodge in right field. The Charro Lodge is a VIP section of 550 seats where food and beverage are provided. All of these efforts allow the Scottsdale Charros to raise money to invest in local charities and public education in Scottsdale.

A view of Scottsdale Stadium in the heart of downtown Scottsdale just south of City Hall. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

•What is the No. 1 focus of the Scottsdale Charros?

The No. 1 focus of the Scottsdale Charros is to improve the quality of life in Scottsdale! We accomplish this through the hosting of Spring Training, the promotion of our western heritage, providing much needed resources to local charities and investing in public education.

•From your perspective, how has Spring Training evolved over the years and why is Scottsdale Stadium such a popular location?

The city of Scottsdale has evolved, the sports business has grown tremendously and so has Spring Training. Scottsdale Stadium was carved out of the corner of a local farm. It was logical to build it close to everything else that was going on in town. Thankfully, the stadium has remained in its original location and now offers one of the best sports venues in the Valley. Old Town Scottsdale is a magnet for locals and visitors alike. The amount of shopping, dining, resorts and amenities makes going to a game at Scottsdale Stadium truly unique in Arizona. Even though baseball is big business, coming to a game in downtown Scottsdale still manages to feel intimate and relaxed.

•Speaking of Scottsdale Stadium, how are planned renovations going?

The city of Scottsdale, the San Francisco Giants and the Scottsdale Charros have been working together to enhance a jewel in Scottsdale’s crown. Scottsdale Stadium can be upgraded to become a multi-use asset that attracts new users and further promotes the economic engine of our downtown. To have a stadium located in our downtown is extremely unique and further upgrades will provide opportunities for events, festivals and meetings that presently can’t be accommodated in downtown Scottsdale. The proposed renovations will allow Spring Training to continue for decades to come and it will promote more events and activities in Old Town.

•How important is the Scottsdale Stadium renovation project for downtown Scottsdale?

I know a downtown Scottsdale restaurant owner who receives 40 percent of his annual revenue in the month of March because of Spring Training at Scottsdale Stadium. March is the best month for hotels, restaurants and retail businesses in Scottsdale. To maintain this type of economic activity in Scottsdale is critical to the future of our city. The stadium renovations will also allow for increased business activity at the stadium because of the type of upgrades and changes that have been proposed. This is a very exciting time for Scottsdale Stadium.

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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