Kershaw was chosen for the annual humanitarian award during a press conference at the Denver Athletic Club. The 25-year-old pitcher will be inducted as the 22nd member of the Baseball Humanitarians Hall of Fame on Nov. 16 at the Marriott City Center Hotel in downtown Denver.
Created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 1991, the Branch Rickey Award honors “individuals in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people.” Each team is asked to nominate one player each year for the award.
Kershaw was chosen by a National Selection Committee comprised of 450 members of media, baseball executives, past award winners and Rotary International district governors. All of the voting was conducted online. Fans were given a chance to vote through Facebook for the first time, and Kershaw won the fan voting “by an impressive margin,” according to the Dodgers.
With an MLB-leading 1.89 earned-run average and a National League-leading 201 strikeouts, Kershaw is poised to win his second NL Cy Young Award in three years. His humanitarian awards are beginning to pile up, too. Kershaw was also honored with the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
Kershaw and his wife Ellen founded Kershaw’s Challenge, a foundation that seeks to transform the lives of at-risk children and communities. Their cornerstone charity, “Arise Africa,” has built and sustained an orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia called “Arise Home.” The orphanage is now home to nine children who came from desperate situations. This year, their goal is to rebuild a community school in the heart of Lusaka, adding five additional classrooms, a water well and salaries to pay higher educated faculty.
Kershaw’s Challenge is also involved with Sharefest in Los Angeles and Mercy Street in his hometown of Dallas, TX, both of which seek to improve the lives of at risk youth through after-school programs and sports.
Since 2011, Kershaw has been “Striking Out to Serve,” donating $500 to Kershaw’s Challenge for each batter he strikes out.
The Branch Rickey Award, named for the former Dodgers president/general manager, is a replica of “The Player,” a 13-foot tall bronze sculpture that stands at the entrance to Coors Field in Denver.