The Detroit Tigers were named the 2013 recipient of the Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence for the Club's Anti-Bullying program. The Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence was created to recognize the charitable and philanthropic efforts of MLB Clubs.
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The Detroit Tigers organization recognized the epidemic of bullying in schools and identified an opportunity to advocate for Michigan's school children. In 2011, the Tigers launched the "Strike Out Bullying" program and nearly a quarter of a million students throughout the state of Michigan have been impacted by the program. The Tigers established a partnership with Michigan K.I.D.S., the charitable arm of the Detroit Free Press to develop a comprehensive 16-page, baseball-themed, anti-bullying manual to help teachers and administrators address bullying in schools. Personal testimony for the manual came from Tigers players including Phil Coke and Doug Fister as well as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
To accompany the supplement an anti-bullying poster was produced featuring photos and quotes from Tigers players.
Tigers pitcher Phil Coke testified at a hearing for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, a national effort to reduce childhood violence. Task Force Chairman Joe Torre applauded Coke, calling the program "an innovative, best practice in sports philanthropy".
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As part of the 2013 Winter Caravan, Tigers players including pitcher Phil Coke participated in a "Strike Out Bullying" forum at Royal Oak Middle School. The forum was presented in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Royal Oak Public Schools and the Detroit Newspapers in Education program.
During the 2013 season, the Tigers hosted Anti-Bullying Day at Comerica Park prior to a Tigers / Royals matchup at which young fans signed an oversized Tigers Pledge to Stop Bullying, in addition, "Strike Out Bullying" bracelets were distributed to over 10,000 young fans. The Michigan State Police participated in the rally as part of their internet crimes against children initiative.Download Strike Out Bullying PDF Download Strike Out Bullying Poster