With the worst record in Major League Baseball and with the departure of president/CEO George Postolos, news of the Houston Astros severing their 23-year relationship with the Houston Area Women's Center and canceling the popular "Black Ties and Baseball Caps" fundraiser could not have come at a worse time.
Monday night, KHOU Channel 11 reported the break in relations that actually occurred in February, when the team notified the non-profit that it would no longer hold the gala. "We were a little surprised, yes," Women's Center CEO Rebecca White told CultureMap in obvious understatement.
Since its inaugural evening in 1990, "Black Ties and Baseball Caps" has provided as much as $400,000 a year to the non-profit with $250,000 donated in 2012. The gala was the center's largest fundraiser of the year.
"We're very fortunate that we live in a very generous community," White continued. "We are going to our donors and foundations for help and to long-time supporters of the fundraiser and letting them know that they can still support our mission even if there is not a gala."
White was informed that the Astros Foundation is changing its focus to concentrate on what the team website describes as "our cornerstone charitable programs, including Community Leaders, the Astros Urban Youth Academy and the Astros RBI Program (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)."
White's message to clients of the Women's Center is, "We're still here. We're still providing all of our services." The center shelters 120 women and children on any given night, handles 42,000 calls a year and has 14,000 women in counseling.
The Astros have their reasons for the change. Read about it here.