The mission of The Mark Fidrych Foundation is to “enhance the lives of children and adults with disabilities and/or special needs through and with a focus on sports and sports education.” For Ann Fidyrch, Mark’s widow, the Foundation is merely a continuation of Mark’s legacy of giving back to his community. Thrive Support & Advocacy was a fortunate recipient of the Foundation’s generosity this year.
Fidrych, nicknamed “The Bird,” was a colorful and well-known major league baseball pitcher who grew up in Northborough, MA. In 1974 he was drafted into minor league baseball from high school and went on to play his entire career with the Detroit Tigers. After his retirement from baseball in 1980, he moved back to his hometown of Northborough to settle down and raise his family. Tragically, Mark lost his life in an accident in 2009. In the time following, Ann Fidrych wanted to find a way to carry on her husband’s legacy of giving back. The foundation was created “as a tribute to Mark and a continuation of the way he lived his life of giving to others.”
Since its origination, the Foundation has donated more than $325,000, with a focus on supporting local organizations. “Because Mark had a special relationship with those with developmental or intellectual challenges, we chose to focus our efforts in that community,” Ann shared. “With Thrive we found that our missions are aligned. One of my neighbors participates in Thrive’s Social & Recreational programs. Because of this we’ve seen firsthand how Thrive impacts the lives of their participants, and we wanted to support that effort,” Ann added.
The Foundation runs a number of events to raise money for their grants. The Make Your Mark Softball Tournament, which happens annually in August, is their most significant event. “This year we had 11 teams competing and raised more than $80,000. We are shooting for a bigger and better event in 2019.” When asked what people should know about your husband, Ann replied “My husband gave his time and was very selfless. Follow in his footsteps by enjoying life and giving back, and don’t forget that every day is a gift.”
Thank you to the Mark Fidrych Foundation for making a difference in the lives of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Your impact will be seen for decades, and your family is creating a wonderful legacy in memory of Mark.