by Brett Dolan
Bo Porter was back in Houston early Thursday morning, working in the shadows of Minute Maid Park. Working a room that is, at Vic and Anthony’s as part of his SELF Foundation’s Breakfast event.
The former Astros manager and current Atlanta Braves third base coach took advantage of a rare off day in the baseball schedule to meet with donors and supporters to his foundation.
Porter was insistent that his foundation was not tied to him being the manager of the Astros.
“Houston is home base for us,” he said. “It is near and dear for Stacey (wife) and I to give back to the community.”
Major League Baseball has taken notice of the success of the SELF Foundation, an acronym for Sports, Education, Life Skills and Faith that has provided after school programs, mentoring and a safe haven for kids in specific HISD schools. It is an initiative that could soon blossom nationwide with the support of MLB.
With the help of former baseball greats Frank Robinson and Dave Winfield, Porter plans to provide a presentation to new Commissioner Rob Manfred this summer that could provide a template for the SELF Foundation in other big league cities.
The program would have aspects of the NFL Play 60 campaign but also provide after school activities, educational aspects and engagement with the youth that could be future baseball fans or community leaders.
Asked to provide the best description of his foundation’s success, Porter didn’t hesitate.
“It has given a group of young kids the ability to dream big,” he stated. “I think they walk down a path that was real dark and not understanding what the next day was going to bring, but I think now they have witnessed that they have been able to receive a lot of the vehicles that they can now drive for their careers.”
A national launch of the SELF Foundation could provide an even greater impact in the founding city of Houston to support the underprivileged and underserved.
Astros right-fielder George Springer was in attendance Thursday and he agrees.
“It is something I think is special to help kids and to help a community,” he said. “I also think it is my job as an athlete to help kids and kind of show them you can do anything you want to do, you just have to put your mind to it.”
That is where the assistance, mentorship and guidance of the SELF Foundation come into play.
Porter is also thrilled with the start of his new team after an off-season that consisted of a series of veteran signings and high profile trades that brought back prospects including former Astros flame thrower Mike Foltynewicz for Evan Gattis. As the organization has hit the restart button, they have also begun the 2015 campaign 6-3.
“I couldn’t be happier with the start which we’ve had,” he added. “Fredi (Gonzalez) has done a tremendous job delivering the message to the ballclub and they are feeding off the energy.”