During the Spring Training in Florida of 2005, twin brothers Theo and Paul Epstein brainstormed a way to harness the goodwill of Boston fans, jubilant from the first Red Sox World Series Championship in 86 years, to enrich the Boston community for the greater good.
They started an organization to raise funds and awareness for nonprofit agencies serving urban youth and families and called it Foundation To Be Named Later, a playful nod the baseball trade term Player To Be Named Later. Funds would be raised through fun and unique events focused on baseball and music, two of the twins’ passions.
Theo and Paul teamed up with Baseball Hall of Fame journalist Peter Gammons, who, along with a team of All Stars, had been organizing the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concert since 2000. Peter agreed that Hot Stove Cool Music should become the centerpiece fundraising event for Foundation To Be Named Later. Hot Stove Cool Music Concert is still the signature fundraiser for FTBNL and is held every January in Boston and, since Theo’s move to the Cubs in 2012, every June in Chicago.
FTBNL has grown in scope and reach since its founding, and to date has granted $8.5 million to over 200 nonprofit agencies benefiting urban youth and families. In 2010, FTBNL launched its own direct program, the Peter Gammons Scholars and now supports 74 under-resourced students at four-year colleges around the country. Each scholar gets a mentor and laptop to succeed in college as a first generation college student.
FTBNL has a strong programmatic interest in the youth and families assisted by its nonprofit partners. The Foundation’s founders, All-Stars and sponsors engage with the kids in various service projects throughout the year and the Foundation enlists the kids’ help during events. In addition, FTNBL sends these and other urban children to Red Sox, Cubs and Celtics games, providing an opportunity otherwise outside of their reach. To date, FTBNL has sent over 3,200 kids to such games.