by Katie Woo
GLENDALE — While known for his flashy and sometimes controversial playing style, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is now channeling his heroic on-the-field efforts off the field as well.
He can thank a teammate for the idea.
Puig recently launched the Wild Horse Foundation, a non-profit organization designated to provide aid to impoverished children, families and schools. He came up with the idea after attending teammate Justin Turner’s charity golf event last October, which Turner says was part of the plan.
“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Turner said. “One of the things I was hoping to get out of having the golf tournament and having all those guys out was for them to understand the platform that we have and the difference we can make in people’s lives. Yasi hit the ground running with it right away.”
The Wild Horse Foundation gets its name from the nickname Vin Scully gave to Puig. The foundation staged an event in December in the Dominican Republic. Puig teamed with former Dodgers coach Manny Mota, whose foundation specializes in assisting underprivileged youth, much like Puig’s. They handed out food and supplies to children in Santo Domingo in an effort to make the Christmas season better for families. More than 250 families benefitted from the event.
“It was a beautiful experience,” Puig, 26, said through an interpreter. “We were able to work together, his foundation and my foundation, and do what we could for the kids.
“I’ve been helping kids out for a while. As of late, I was able to get the paperwork in and make it official with the government. It’s just another way for me to help the kids.”
“He supports everyone’s foundation, which is really cool of him. He’s very generous of his time,” Turner said. “He’s doing a lot of good things in the Dominican. It’s just really cool to see guys go out of their way to give back to the community.”
Although still relatively new, the Wild Horse Foundation is hoping to specialize in purchasing and distributing toys to needy children, providing athletic equipment to youth leagues in need and donating school supplies to underprivileged schools. The foundation’s first fundraiser is scheduled for May 22 and will be a poker night at Dodger Stadium. Tickets start at $500 and include dinner, drinks and a silent auction. Puig is expected to be in attendance. More information is available at http://www.wildhorsefdn.org.
“We’re going to try to raise as much funds as we can for the kids,” Puig said.