From the Reds:

The Cincinnati Reds Community Fund will be honored with the 2011 Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy, presented each year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The award celebrates and promotes the selfless service of people within the world of sports whose passionate efforts make a difference in the lives around them. The Reds are being recognized in particular for their Match program, which brings youth baseball teams from the suburbs and the inner city together in the spirit of diversity, interaction and friendly competition.

“This is an incredible honor for the Reds Community Fund and a testament to our ownership, management, board and staff,” said Community Fund executive director Charley Frank. “In just a decade, we have created unique programs that improve the lives of youth through baseball and softball. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve reconnected countless teams, coaches, kids and neighborhoods from all across the region to the game of baseball and the Reds franchise.”

RWJF – the nation’s largest health care foundation – will present the award to the Reds Community Fund on the evening of September 27th at the end of the year banquet for the Match program at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

“We are delighted to recognize the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund with this year’s Patterson Award, as their innovative approach to sports philanthropy offers an excellent model for other sports teams looking to make an impact in their communities,” said Fred Mann, vice president of communications at RWJF. “All sports teams have opportunities to make unique, positive contributions in their community, and the Reds should be commended for doing just that.”

The Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy was established to honor the legacy of former NBA and UCLA star Steve Patterson, who was renowned as much for his work off the court as he was for his work on it.

“Steve’s giving heart, unifying leadership, and dedication to improving the lives of others serve as an example for all people in sports,” said Carlette Patterson, Steve’s widow. “It is only appropriate that the Reds Community Fund be recognized for the example they are setting for other sports teams.”

Cincinnati is now home to two Patterson Award winners, with the Reds Community Fund joining the Marvin Lewis Community Fund (which won the award in 2009).

I just cannot say enough about the work being done by the Reds Community Fund. Reds fans should be very proud — and very supportive — of the RCF.