ATLANTA -- Last year, Atlanta Braves Foundation Weekend raised more than $64,000 for community organizations within the Atlanta area. This year, the organization is looking to go even higher.
"We always want to do more," said Ericka Newsome, executive director of the foundation. "We always want to raise more money, because the more money we raise, the more money we can distribute back into the community."
The Foundation Weekend runs Friday through Sunday. Fans attending those games against the St. Louis Cardinals can purchase and/or bid on items in the Hank Aaron room at Field Level, Aisle 128, starting when the gates open 2 1/2 hours before the game.
Beating last year's money total could be easy, since the Braves Foundation went above and beyond in securing items for fans to bid on and purchase.
The items include a base autographed by Aaron, a clubhouse recliner signed by the entire Braves team, a game-used, autographed John Smoltz glove, and several more items from past and present Braves players.
Fans will also be able to bid on Cardinals items, including an Albert Pujols autograph.
"This year, we've tried to get really creative on what we're offering to fans," Newsome said. "The players know how important this event is to the Atlanta Braves Foundation, so they have donated some unique items."
The Atlanta Braves Foundation uses money raised through events such as Foundation Weekend by offering grants to local charity and community organizations in need within the metro Atlanta area. Since its inception in 1992, the Foundation has raised more than a million dollars.
Newsome said Foundation Weekend is one of the organization's most productive events, and one of the most special because it involves fan and player participation.
"I think the fans really enjoy Foundation Weekend and they look forward to it every year," Newsome said. "We have silent auctions every night, but the fans are asking us when Foundation Weekend is."
Jeff Lutz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.