Target Becomes MLB Sponsor, Honors “All-Star Teachers”

Target is expanding its selection of Major League Baseball merchandise and is working with the league to recognize all-star educators.

Target Corporation announced Monday that it has become an official sponsor of Major League Baseball and will also work with the league on a program that is designed to recognize exceptional educators from throughout the country.

As part of its MLB sponsorship, Minneapolis-based Target will begin carrying an expanded selection of team- and All-Star Game-branded merchandise in its 1,921 stores throughout the United States and Canada, as well as online.

For the education program, Target said Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzales, both MLB all-stars, have been tapped as key celebrity advocates. Throughout the first half of the MLB season, Target will host events like its “School Library Makeovers” in communities that are home to MLB teams. At such events, Beltran and Gonzales, along with other MLB players, will share stories about the key educators and mentors in their own lives and encourage families to nominate their favorite current or retired teachers.

Target, MLB, and People magazine—which has in the past recognized individuals through similar “all-star” programs—will then review nominations to determine finalists, who will then be voted on by the public. Thirty teachers—one from each community that has an MLB team—will be honored during the pre-game festivities at the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field on July 15.

In 1946, Target began allocating 5 percent of its profits to community grants and programs, and today it gives back more than $4 million per week. Target said its latest partnership with MLB highlights its ongoing commitment to education in particular—which includes school grants, book drives, meal programs, and more.

In 2010, the retailer announced a goal of giving $1 billion to education by 2015. Target’s president of community relations, Laysha Ward, said in a statement that the partnership with MLB “brings to life Target’s commitment” to that goal.