Na­tion­als Give $2 Mil­lion For Di­a­betes Care Fa­cil­ity

The Washington Post Sunday - - The Region - By Barry Svr­luga

Of­fi­cials from the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als’ char­i­ta­ble arm yes­ter­day an­nounced a $2 mil­lion do­na­tion to Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal for the cre­ation of a di­a­betes care and ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­ity, the base­ball club’s most sig­nif­i­cant gift to Wash­ing­ton since the Lerner fam­ily as­sumed own­er­ship in July.

The gift will in­clude $1.25 mil­lion in cash and $750,000 in ad­ver­tis­ing and other ben­e­fits at RFK Sta­dium and the new ball­park, sched­uled to open next year, of­fi­cials said.

Marla Lerner Ta­nen­baum, chair­woman of the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als Dream Foun­da­tion and daugh­ter of prin­ci­pal owner Theodore N. Lerner, said that as the foun­da­tion con­sid­ered po­ten­tial char­i­ties, she was struck by the re­sponse of in­di­vid­ual mem­bers of the group when she men­tioned di­a­betes at a meet­ing sev­eral months ago.

“The re­ac­tion in the room, it was quiet but steady,” Ta­nen­baum said. “But peo­ple started rais­ing their hands and shak­ing their heads. ‘I’ve got a sis­ter.’ ‘I’ve got a cousin.’ It was, I have to say, prob­a­bly 80 per­cent in that room where we were sit­ting where peo- ple had a per­sonal con­nec­tion to this dis­ease.”

James W. Lin­tott, chair­man of the Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal Foun­da­tion Board, called the gift “un­be­liev­ably gen­er­ous.” Since 2004, he said, hospi­tal of­fi­cials have charted a 15 per­cent an­nual in­crease in chil­dren’s di­a­betes cases in the Dis­trict and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

“This gift will trans­form chil­dren’s health in the Wash­ing­ton cap­i­tal area and will change thou­sands of lives for the bet­ter,” Lin­tott said.

The Na­tion­als’ own­ers, part­ner­ing with the city, also have taken over the de­vel­op­ment of a base­ball academy that will help teach the game to D.C. chil­dren, al­though a site hasn’t been de­ter­mined. That project was part of a pledge by the pre­vi­ous own­er­ship, Ma­jor League Base­ball.

Alphonso Mal­don Jr., pres­i­dent of the Na­tion­als foun­da­tion, said he and D.C. Coun­cil Chair­man Vin­cent C. Gray (D) had trav­eled to Los An­ge­les and New York to visit acad­e­mies there and gen­er­ate ideas about how to es­tab­lish the fa­cil­ity, which will also in­clude af­ter-school pro­grams for kids.

The Na­tion­als open their third sea­son in the Dis­trict to­mor­row at RFK Sta­dium.

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