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Dodgers owners distance themselves from Frank McCourt charities

April 06, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • The Dodgers are largely divorcing themselves from the charitable organizations associated with former owner Frank McCourt.
The Dodgers are largely divorcing themselves from the charitable organizations… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Most of the changes brought on by the Dodgers’ new ownership group have been flashy, headline-grabbing.

From a record baseball payroll to over $100 million in stadium improvements, the changes were designed to grab attention and inspire renewed belief in a beleaguered franchise.

Just not all of the changes. One has been done so quietly as to not even be noticed. There was no announcement, no obscure press release, no real mention of it.

The Dodgers have revamped their charity wing, largely divorcing themselves from the foundations associated with ex-owner Frank McCourt.

Now this is a very wise move, yet not one the Dodgers are exactly inclined to trumpet. McCourt remains the Guggenheim Baseball Management’s partner as half-owner of the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium.

But the Dodgers Dream Foundation is no more, at least in name. Now the Dodgers simply call it the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. And all but gone is ThinkCure, the charity established by McCourt that he once dreamed of rivaling the Jimmy Fund.

Even though the Dodgers Dream Foundation was originally established by Fox, it became identified with McCourt. Never more than when McCourt had to repay the charity more than $400,000 it had paid to Howard Sunkin, his buddy who reportedly ran it. And then there was the $100,000 that went to team co-owner Jamie McCourt that had to be paid back.

It felt like dirty business, and Guggenheim needed to distance itself from McCourt’s charities, which it has quietly done. Never could understand why anyone would give McCourt's charities a single dime.

There is no profile of ThinkCure in the Dodgers’ 2013 media guide, which has 11 pages covering the Dodger organization's work in the community, but just one obscure reference (corrected). It’s almost like it no longer even exists, though an official said an event is scheduled for it later this year.

The Dodgers Foundation does continue McCourt's “dream fields” program of building and renovating community baseball fields. The foundation is now led by Nick Sandler, a Guggenheim employe.

Otherwise, the focus has moved beyond charities trumpeted by McCourt. And that’s a very good thing, however quietly done.

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