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Phillies' Ryan Howard to Donate $1.2M to Philadelphia Schools

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The Philadelphia Phillies may not have won the World Series this year, but first baseman Ryan Howard should still have plenty of young fans around the city this holiday season.

Howard announced Thursday that his Ryan Howard Family Foundation would be donating athletic sportswear valued at $1.15 million to the school district of Philadelphia. Fifty-seven high schools will benefit from the donation by receiving athletic footwear and uniforms that match the schools' colors, and four middle schools in the district will also receive athletic shoes.

"I am honored to announce this generous gift from Philadelphia Phillie Ryan Howard and his family, which will help our city's students to have pride in their schools and be prepared to play sports," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in a statement. "This gift from The Ryan Howard Family Foundation is a great example of how individuals and institutions can contribute to the education of our students and root for them on the field."

Howard also announced yesterday that his foundation would be providing turkeys, winter coats, and school supplies to over 500 economically disadvantaged families in the Philadelphia region this holiday season, too.

"This is an exceptional gift from an exceptional athlete and humanitarian," said Leroy Nunery, Philadelphia's acting superintendent. "This gift will make a world of difference to our athletes.

The timing of Howard's announcement couldn't have been much better, as district officials announced the same day that $15 million needed to be trimmed to balance the district's cash-strapped budget, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The district already announced that 69 nurse positions would be cut, saving roughly $5 million, but it needs to cut at least $14 million more, according to officials who spoke with the paper.

Surprise, surprise: Athletics is one of the areas mentioned as a potential target in future rounds of cuts.

Ryan Howard may have just helped save youth sports in the Philadelphia school district with his donation.

Photo: Philadelphia Phillies baseball player Ryan Howard clowns for the cameras after announcing a donation from the Ryan Howard Family Foundation to the School District of Philadelphia during a news conference at City Hall on Dec. 1 in Philadelphia. (Alex Brandon/AP)

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