Don’t underestimate the generosity of Major League Baseball teams, particularly the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Since 1997, the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation has donated $35 million to charities throughout the state. Among recent beneficiaries is Ability360, a Phoenix-based organization that supports individuals with disabilities. It provides them a fitness facility specializing in adaptive sports and recreation, including aquatics.
When the complex’s general manager and vice president, Gus LaZear, applied for a grant to replaster the pools, he asked the foundation for a do-over before it began selecting projects to fund. The foundation allowed it and LaZear submitted a new proposal to replace the facility’s aging chair lifts instead. This, he figured, was more important than new plaster.
But a funny thing happened.
When LaZear was invited to make a presentation about the need for new chair lifts, the foundation asked what it would cost to renovate the pools that he wrote about in the initial application.
Foundation officials didn’t blink. Not only did they agree to fund the new chair lifts, but they’d give Ability360 $100,000 for needed renovations.
Shasta Pools rebuilt the pools. The biggest and most important change was made to the therapy pool. It was made shallower by one foot, so that more people could use it and keep their heads above water, the organization said. Aquatic Environmental Systems put in new automation equipment and new the chair lifts came from Aqua Creek.
Ability360 celebrated the improvements with a grand opening last month. Team officials attended, including mascot Baxter the Bobcat.