Community & CultureSports Partnerships
Dec 21, 2023
8 Minute Read

Blue KC Sports Partnerships: 2023 Recap

A good teammate always puts the needs of the group above all else. And no one embodies that spirit of togetherness more than our Blue KC sports partners, the Kansas City Royals, Sporting KC, and the Kansas City Current.

Throughout 2023, these storied franchises united with Blue KC to highlight exceptional coaches, teachers, students, and first responders throughout the Kansas City community, and helped continue the important conversation to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Here at Blue KC, we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved alongside our sports partners. Because, as any great team has taught us, when we stand as one, anything is possible.

Kansas City Royals

Wrapping up its third year, Shut Out the Stigma is a partnership between Blue KC and the Royals to provide support for behavioral health as a part of overall health and well-being and focus on removing the stigma around mental health. Throughout the 2023 season, Blue KC donated $30 each time any Royals pitcher recorded a shutout inning. In total, 963 shutout innings were recorded, and Blue KC donated nearly $30,000 to six behavioral health organizations. This initiative expanded this year with larger-than-life letter installations in May called “Open Letters” at local sports complexes – all culminating with the release of the documentary Not Good Enough in October.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and Royals owner John Sherman visited The Kansas City Urban Youth Academy on August 16, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo., and posed by one of the Open Letters. (Photo by Jason Hanna/ Kansas City Royals)

The Open Letters installation was developed from a compilation of letters written by Kansas City-metro youth athletes. These athletes wrote about what they liked and didn’t like about both playing sports and the pressures that come with it. Open Letters puts into words what many kids are not comfortable saying themselves — a reminder that parents and coaches, in trying to help, can be doing more harm than good.

Not Good Enough is a 45-minute look into the perspective of our youth athletes and the toll perfectionism takes on their behavioral health – perfectionism that is often perpetuated by parents, coaches, and other adults in their lives. The film explores behavioral health challenges today’s youth athletes face and provides a way forward. A very helpful resource for parents and coaches was developed as a by-product of the documentary, called the Conversation Guide.

The Not Good Enough documentary debut on Oct. 9, 2023, with a private viewing at B&B Theaters in downtown Kansas City, MO

Blue KC Coaches With Character

A partnership between the “C” You In The Major Leagues Foundation, the Kansas City Royals, and Blue KC, the Blue KC Coaches with Character program shines a much-deserved spotlight on local amateur coaches who, through their leadership on and off the field, make our community a better place to live, work and play. Each monthly honoree was selected from nominations submitted by fans and celebrated at Kauffman Stadium throughout the 2023 season. Since the program’s launch in 2017, 36 coaches have been recognized for their service to the community. Learn more HERE.

This past September, honorees were hosted by Kansas City Royals Executive Vice President and General Manager J.J. Picollo, “C” You In the Major Leagues Foundation Director Matt Fulks, and Royals and MLB Hall of Famer, George Brett. Watch the celebration of all honorees with George Brett!

Who is your coaching hero?
Do you remember that coach who made a difference in your life? What better way to say thank you than to nominate them for Coaches With Character? Over 25 metro-area coaches have already been recognized as part of the Coaches With Character program, and now is your chance to nominate! Selected high school coaches get a once-in-a-lifetime experience with 4 tickets to a Kansas City Royals game, a merchandise gift card, a parking pass, tossing out the ceremonial first pitch, and an interview on 610 Sports Radio during the pre-game show. Click here to nominate your sports mentor today!

The 2023 Coaches With Character recipients were recognized in a special pre-game ceremony at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 30, 2023.

2023 Honorees

  • September Honoree
    • Megan Schmidt
    • Girl’s Tennis, Basketball and Soccer Coach
    • Sumner Academy
    • Check out the Story
  • August Honoree
  • July Honoree
  • June Honoree
  • May Honoree
  • April Honoree

Blue KC Answering the Call

When faced with danger, first responders always answer the call, protecting our community while saving countless lives in the process. Blue KC and the Kansas City Royals salute these brave individuals who put themselves on the line each day. Blue KC Answering the Call honorees are selected from first responders who make a difference in the community. Throughout 2023, six courageous first responders were honored for Answering the Call.

Pictured left to right (Matt Deloux, Rick Blevins, Royals pitching coach and Answering the Call ambassador Brian Sweeney, and Todd Covington)

2023 Honorees

  • September Honoree
    • Todd Covington
    • Battalion Chief
    • Kansas City Fire Department
    • Working in the aircraft rescue and firefighting division at both KCI and the downtown Kansas City airports, Todd recently helped save a man who was choking at a Washington Nationals baseball game.
    • Media new story
  • August Honoree
    • Jeff Kinnison
    • Firefighter
    • KCMO Fire Department
    • Jeff has served the past 33 years in the Fire Department and the past 20 years on the Royals Grounds Crew.
  • July Honoree
    • Michelle Sumstad
    • Deputy Chief of Police
    • Independence Police Department
    • Michelle has served in law enforcement for the last 28 years and recently became the City’s first female Deputy Chief of Police.
  • June Honoree
    • Matt Deloux
    • Police Officer
    • Kansas City Police Department
    • While off-duty attending a Royals game in May, Matt saved a young boy who was choking on a chocolate bar while with his family pre-game in the Kauffman Stadium parking lot.
    • Media news story
  • May Honoree
    • Rick Blevins
    • Sports Venue Nurse Manager
    • University of Kansas Health System
    • Rick oversees a team of employees who work to keep fans safe at Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums and the T-Mobile Center.
  • April Honoree
    • Maddie Lecompte
    • Behavioral Health Tech
    • The University of Kansas Health System
    • Maddie works with children who are hospitalized after suicide attempts or who are facing mental health challenges.

Sporting KC

Blue KC Sporting Samaritans

For eight seasons, the Blue KC Sporting Samaritans program has recognized teachers and students who are making a huge impact in their school and throughout the KC metro. Recognized prior to Sporting KC home matches, each Sporting Samaritan winner, along with their friends and family, enjoys the match in the Blue KC Samaritan Suite.

From March through October, eight honorees were celebrated. Since the program’s launch in 2016, 48 Sporting Samaritans have been recognized, shining a light on local teachers and students that mean so much to their communities.

Know an Education Superstar?
As the year draws to a close, now is the time to honor the special teachers and students that have made an impact. 2024 winners will receive 4 tickets to a Sporting KC match, food and beverage inside the Sporting Samaritan suite, a parking pass, a customized jersey and a meet-and-greet with former Sporting KC defender Matt Besler! Click here to nominate.

Pictured left to right (Sporting KC alum and Sporting Samaritan ambassador Matt Besler, Richie Shust, Maddie Remijio, Helen Harrelson, Beth Matz, and current Sporting KC player and Sporting Samaritan ambassador Kayden Pierre)

2023 Honorees

Kansas City Current

Sideline the Stigma

Now in its second year, Sideline the Stigma, a partnership between Blue KC and the KC Current, focuses on promoting actionable and practical resources to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. As part of this initiative, on August 26th, 2023, Synergy Services provided 80 youth with the opportunity to participate in various workshops about movement, music, art and have engaged in a conversation about mental health. Kansas City Current players Desiree Scott and Jordan Silkowitz joined the event to talk about removing the stigma around mental health challenges.

Watch the video recap of the event

A youth attending the Sideline the Stigma event on Aug. 26, 2023, was surprised with a prize she won in a raffle.

In February, as part of an event presented by Blue KC, and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, members of the KC Current’s leadership team were trained to receive Mental Health First Aid® certifications. Mental Health First Aid® is the initial help offered to a person developing a mental health or substance use challenge or experiencing a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate treatment and support are received or until the crisis resolves.

Pride Night

For the second-straight year Blue KC was the presenting sponsor of the KC Current Pride Night match on June 3rd, 2023. With nearly 10,3000 fans in attendance, the Current defeated the NC Courage by a 1-0 score. $5,000 was donated to the Pride Night Community Champion of the Match – Modern Family Alliance. As a free fan giveaway, a Blue KC-branded pride bandana was given to all in attendance. Over 250 Blue KC employees cheered on the Current.

Members of Blue KC, KC Current and Pride Night Community Champion of the Match Modern Family Alliance gather during a special pre-game ceremony on 2023 Pride Night on June 3, 2023.

For over eight decades, Blue KC has been a part of the Kansas City community. Which is why collaborating with our city’s professional sports is such an important part of our mission. From the players on the field, to the fans in the stands, to everyone that cheers for our hometown teams, Blue KC will always be there to support those that call Kansas City home.

Blue KC supports the Kansas City community through impactful sports partnership programs.

Kansas City Royals, Sporting KC, KC Current

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