MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MN – In recognition of his off-field and community efforts, Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been nominated for the 2020 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award. Cruz joins Kevin Love of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, Devin and Jason McCourty of the NFL’s New England Patriots, Maya Moore of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx and WWE fighter Titus O’Neil as finalists for the prestigious honor.
This marks the first nomination for Cruz, as the six-time All-Star and 15-year major league veteran enters his second season with the Minnesota Twins in 2020. Cruz, who received the 2019 Carl R. Pohlad Award for Twins Outstanding Community Service, is being honored for transforming the safety and welfare of his hometown, along with his work to assist others in the Dominican Republic, in Twins Territory and beyond. His many efforts include:
- Assisting his hometown of Las Matas De Santa Cruz by donating a fire engine and an ambulance to treat and transport people to the hospital, which is nearly one hour away. He also built a new police station and donated a motorcycle for the city’s police officers, who previously had to walk.
- Annually bringing dentists and optometrists, along with donated equipment and medicine, to his hometown clinic, providing checkups, medicine and eyewear. His health event enabled more than 1,200 people to be evaluated and treated by volunteer doctors.
- Purchasing wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and canes for elderly and disabled residents of his hometown.
- Leading his Boomstick23 Foundation in establishing a new education and technical center to help the youth of Las Matas De Santa Cruz advance their employability by learning different trades such as carpentry/electrical, and how to better use farmland to produce crops.
- Beginning the Healing Venezuela initiative, which helps 2,000 Venezuelan newborns annually receive life-sustaining nourishment during their first year (a 400% increase since Cruz’s involvement).
- Raising funds through the Big League Impact ALL WIN campaign in 2019, impacting the Education Center in the Monte Cristi province, Dominican Republic.
- Engaging with Twin Cities area youth, including hosting a vitilla clinic with Twins RBI All-Stars in 2019.
The Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award is given to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports. The candidate must embrace the core principles that Muhammad Ali embodied so well, including confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and respect. The winner will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts. The finalists will be able to direct a $25,000 grant to the charity related to their award-winning efforts (the Boomstick23 Foundation for Cruz).
Cruz, along with the other nominees, will be featured in ESPN studio shows the week of June 15. The Sports Humanitarian Awards, combined with The 2020 ESPYS Presented by Capitol One, will be aired June 21st on ESPN at 8 p.m. CT.