Padres vs. D-backs

Photo by Taylor Jackson/Arizona Diamondbacks

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | June 14, 2021

Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed is going “all in” to help raise money for Compassion International, just to see the less fortunate smile.

Ahmed is joining injured pitcher Luke Weaver and reliever Joakim Soria, who have teamed up to pledge a combined $2,050 per win and hope to raise at least $180,000 by the end of the 2021 regular season. Proceeds will be divided among their selected charities.

Weaver’s choice is Consider the Lily, a home for exploited and trafficked girls in Manila. Soria is supporting 1Mission, a community development organization giving impoverished people the chance to earn a house by serving their community with projects in Mexico, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

The program is through Big League Impact, founded by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright.

“The annual #ALLWIN campaign is built around the idea that ‘when we’re all in, we all win,’” says Keith Brooks, executive director of Big League Impact. “The past year has highlighted so much need in our communities, and we’re excited to see these teams and their fans come together in support of the greater good this season.”

Ahmed adds, “I just think it’s a great opportunity and a great organization to work with. Big League Impact has come up with a really creative idea with a way to raise money for important causes, engage fans to do fun things and experience their favorite plays and teams in a unique way.”

Ahmed says Wainwright founded Big League Impact because he didn’t want to host a standard golf tournament or banquet. The Cardinals player decided to start a fantasy football league with fans as a charity endeavor.

“He hosts a bunch of different activities, and it spread like wildfire,” Ahmed says. “It was a little difficult with COVID because of protocols and restrictions. Before that, we were able to have everyone who signed up for fantasy football out to Chase Field for a live draft, play catch and give them a great experience.

“We also engage in some good old-fashioned trash talking. It was a great way for the fans and players to enjoy each other.”

The Fill the Stadium initiative, which Ahmed has been involved with since early 2020, provides support for nearly 70,000 children in need around the world. For every $500 raised, Compassion International can provide a year’s worth of essential food, nutritional supplements, hygiene essentials and other critical items for children in crisis.

“Especially with the effects of COVID, there’s a huge need for child sponsorships in the hardest-hit countries and the poorest places in the world,” Ahmed says.

“A local church is meeting the basic needs for hygiene and health needs. They’re always doing things to help the child, and whole family as well. Because of COVID, they haven’t been able to raise awareness and get sponsors for children.”

Fill the Stadium team leaders are Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, CEO and president of Compassion International, and Steve Stenstrom, president of Pro Athletes Outreach. Forty professional athletes and national leaders are assisting. So far, the group has “filled” over 22,000 seats — on their way to the goal of helping 70,000 children.

To make a fundraising pledge, visit Individuals who donate at least $1 per win — a minimum $80 donation — will receive a limited-edition #ALLWIN Arizona T-shirt.

Ahmed and his wife, Amanda, got involved after meeting Ken McKinney, who runs Pro Athlete Partnerships, at an off-season conference. During the event, baseball players and their wives dig into their faith to learn more about God and acquire resources to build that into marriages and finances.

Ahmed says his charitable endeavors have been gratifying.

“It’s been amazing to see the people’s faces and talk with them and see the gratitude they have,” he says. “It gives me more motivation to continue.”

Fill the Stadium/Big League Impact