Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with New York Yankee relief pitcher David Robertson, who teamed up with his wife Erin to found , also known as The David and Erin Robertson Foundation. The foundation was formed to help those affected by the multiple tornadoes that struck David’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., on April 27.
Each time Robertson strikes out a batter, he donates $100 to the foundation. He and his wife hosted a benefit event at Southern Hospitality, a bar and restaurant in New York, on Aug. 22 to raise money and awareness for the foundation.
Interviewed by Lauren Busch, NBC News
Q: What is your role within the organization?
Robertson: Basically, I am a helper to my wife. She handles the majority of the emailing, and talking, and setting up all of these things. I try to help out, but with my schedule, and then I’m gone during the day most of the time, she does the majority of it. She fills me in when I get home, and then we go from there to the next thing, and to do whatever else we have to try to do for the following week, or that day. She’s kind of like the CEO and I’m her helper. I try to do all the media outlets and everything I can to bring attention to it, and to try to raise money any way we can.
Q: What do you think you’ve accomplished since you and Erin founded High Socks for Hope?
Robertson: I thinkwe’ve accomplished a lot. We’ve had really good feedback, we’ve been very fortunate that the Yankees have helped us out with all of our media, and getting it out, and basically making people aware of what we are trying to do with our and with our whole charity, the whole aspect of running a charity.
Q: Do you have any specific goals moving forward?
Robertson: As of right now, we’re just trying to amassa large fund right now, so that we can help out as much as we can down in Alabama; we’re working with and , and other smaller charities down there.
For anyone who has been contacting us willing to donate goods and items like that, we’ve been going through We Are T-Town and they have been distributing those out to people in need down there. And we’ve also started going through the paperwork process of working with Habitat for Humanity so that we can actually possibly start bringing up some homes.
We might not be able to fully fund them just yet, but we are going to be able to help out potentially with some of those houses.
Q: (YES Network’s) Kim Jones has talked a lot about your foundation and shared some stories from her visit with you and Erin to Alabama, but can you tell me about an experience you had with your foundation that was especially moving?
Robertson: Ah, man, first forth, I had seen the damage on TV. Kim took the trip with us down there to help us shoot a little video clip to kind of get us started; we didn’t really know where to jump off from.Kim has just been unbelievable; she has been helping us non-stop. I stay in touch with her all the time. She has really helped us get that little piece together so that we were able to have something to show people, just to get it going.
Q: Everyone has different strengths they bring to an organization. How does being a professional athlete contribute to your charity?
Robertson: Publicity really just gives me a leg up on being able to get the word out there. Also, being that we are baseball players, and we represent a lot of things here in New York, I’ve always been a guy who tries to be a good role model, I don’t want to be known as someone who doesn’t do the right thing when they’re supposed to. So for me, when my hometown was hit, I felt like being here in New York, and having this opportunity, to be able to actually start a foundation and start raising money.
I had to use what status that I had as our starting point and maybe seeing where it went from there. We’ve been able to keep going with it, and we’re still going to continue to put on events, and try to raise as much money as possible.
Q: Obviously, donating money is helpful but in these difficult economic times, is there anything else people can do to support High Socks for Hope?
Robertson: Yeah, that’s the thing. Our organization is actually run from me and Erin, and maybe there’s a handful of other people who kind of help us out at times. She spends a lot of time emailing people back, and it’s going good. We can’t always get back to everyone, but we’ve had a lot of support come in, and people donated like shoes and shirts, the Yankees donated shirts.
We’ve had everything come in like that, and whether it be items that people can’t really get their hands on or don’t have the money to get in Alabama, we’ve been getting them and funneling them down to We Are T-Town, and that’s kind of been our way for anyone else to help, we’ve been able to do it through them. But it’s been a lot of work doing that, it’s just a lot of time-consuming work to be able to get everyone linked up together to have the items sent down there.