Nelson Cruz wins 2020 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award

Nelson Cruz
Mark Brown/Getty Images

Twins DH Nelson Cruz has won the 2020 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, the club announced on Sunday evening. The award is given to athletes “who are making significant contributions toward securing peace, social justice, human rights, and/or social capital in their communities and on a global basis.” The other finalists for the award included WNBA forward Maya Moore, NFL defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, and WWE star Titus O’Neil.

Previous winners of the award include NFL defensive end Chris Long (2019), NBA forward Kevin Durant (2018), NHL defenseman Mark Giordano (2017), NBA point guard Chris Paul (2016), and WNBA forward Tamika Catchings (2015).

Cruz is being recognized for the extensive charitable work he does for the Dominican Republic, particularly in his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz. Per ESPN, Cruz has provided the town with a new police station, a fire engine and ambulance, as well as wheelchairs and crutches. He also brings dentists and optometrists in to provide citizens with checkups, medicine, and eyewear.

As a result of winning the award, Cruz’s charity will receive a $100,000 grant. The other finalists will get a $25,000 grant each to their respective charities.

The Dodgers won the 2020 ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year for the work of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. CEO Nichol Whiteman said in a statement, “LADF was built for this moment in time. The trauma of a pandemic and social justice events has exacerbated the significant disparities in our communities. We know that inequality can only be dismantled through proactive and strategic interventions, and we are starting with the root causes. This award is a celebration of our organization’s accomplishments, but we are far from done. LADF will not waver. We will be part of the solution.”

According to ESPN, the Dodgers Dreamfield program is responsible for building 51 baseball and softball fields in underserved communities in the L.A. area, providing 368,000 youth with access to safe, playable fields.