Pirates Charities, the official philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, today announced the recipients of the "Fields for Kids" matching grant program for the spring of 2014, the first of three rounds of grants that will be issued during the 2014 season.

A total of 15 youth baseball and softball organizations serving more than 3,000 youth located throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio were awarded grants to help ensure their programs continue to thrive.

The positive impact of the Fields for Kids grants can be seen throughout the region. Five organizations in Allegheny County will receive matching grants. The 10 remaining organizations are located in the counties of Centre, Clarion and Venango (two each), Cambria, Indiana, Mercer and Monroe (OH).

In Allegheny County, the North Hills Athletic Association, which serves roughly 640 boys and girls, will use the matching grant to recondition batting cages and the Wilkinsburg Baseball Association will replace the roof on their concession stand, which is the main source of revenue for the more than 460 member organization.

The Kennedy Township Girls Softball League, which has 220 participants, will use the grant to repair three fields and the Penn Hills Girls Softball Association will replace fencing for two of their fields and more to benefit the nearly 270 members. The Dormont Athletics Booster Association, which has more than 150 boys and girls participating in the league, will use the matching grant to renovate an infield among other projects.

In Centre County, the Penns Valley Little league Softball and Diamonds r 4 Ever will each use the matching grants for improvements that include adding safety fencing, installing new lights and more. While in Clarion County the Knox Area Baseball Association and the New Bethlehem Little League combined serve a total of more than 320 boys and 160 girls and each were awarded a matching grant for projects such as converting a field for use by older boys in the league and replacing fencing respectively.

In Venango County, the Franklin Little League will use the funds to make complete infield renovations to benefit the more than 190 members of the league. And the Cranberry High School Varsity Softball team will utilize the grant to construct a new outdoor batting cage directly behind the team's softball field.

Other counties in Pennsylvania impacted by the first round of grants:

    • Cambria County: The Patton Youth Association serves more than 145 youth and the grant will allow them the funds to make necessary improvements to two fields within the association.

    • Indiana County: The Purchase Line School District will use the funds to assist with renovation of one of their softball fields.

    • Mercer County: The Lakeview School District has more than 315 boys and girls participating in their youth program and the funds will help with safety upgrades such as fencing and field drainage.

Finally, in Monroe County, Ohio the Sardis Little League requested funds as they plan for a new chain link fence around their baseball field. The more than 70 member league will use the funds to offset the cost of installation of the fencing.

The "Fields for Kids" program is one of Pirates Charities' signature programs and provides financial support to improve youth baseball and/or softball facilities through matching grants of $1,000 to $5,000. Grant funds may be used for the upgrading of essential field components such as sod, infield playing surfaces, fencing, dugouts and irrigation systems. Upgrades to the overall facility, including lights, bleachers, scoreboards and concession stands are also eligible.

Since the Fields for Kids program's inception in 2009, a total of 152 individual grants have been distributed.

Applications will be accepted until August 1 for grants scheduled to be awarded in September, the third and final round of grants for the 2014 season. To find out more information on the "Fields for Kids" program, please visit pirates.com/piratescharities.