CHICAGO – Fitting with today’s social media climate, the #Pitchin4DV campaign to aid victims of domestic violence started with a tweet.
A newly acquired pitcher moved Cubs fan and writer Caitlin Swieca to start a fundraiser as the North Siders were enjoying one of their best seasons in a century.
It came after Aroldis Chapman got his first save in a win over the White Sox. It was a debut met both with excitement and controversy following the hard-throwing closer’s trade to Chicago from New York.
While his talent couldn’t be denied, there was an issue with his past: a 30-game suspension early in 2016 under Major League Baseball’s Domestic Violence policy. It stemmed from an incident on Oct. 30 of last year when Chapman’s girlfriend told police that he choked her then fired eight gunshots into his garage at his Davie, Fla. home.
Chapman was never arrested but debate went on amongst Cubs fans who questioned the team’s ability to look past the alleged incident and suspension in order to win.
Swieca’s Twitter pledge came at the heat of the debate. But instead of criticism for her stance, many decided to follow her lead in #Pitchin4DV.
From July through the end of the Cubs season, the campaign achieved the goal of reaching $11,000 in donations for the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic of Chicago, which is an organization that gives free legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in Cook County in an effort to combat domestic violence. The money amount is equal to .1% of Chapman’s 2016 salary.
As of the end of the regular season, 167 donations came in from 139 donors from 21 states, with a few donations coming internationally from Canada and Australia.
“It’s been inspiring to watch my fellow Cubs fans transform their frustration into generosity through the #pitchin4DV campaign, and I’m proud of how we’ve been able to support our team while continuing the conversation surrounding the issue of domestic violence,” said Swieca of the campaign reaching the goal of $11,000. “Those donors made the campaign grow from one Tweet into more than $11,000 in donations for a great cause, and I’m excited to watch that number continue to grow as the Cubs start the postseason.”
The target number for the playoffs is $4,000 in hopes of bringing the grand total of donations to $15,000. Chapman finished his time with the Cubs with 16 saves with a total of 36 when you add the ones he got in New York.
“It’s been heartwarming to see the enthusiasm from Cubs fans and they are looking forward to rallying fans throughout the postseason,” said DVLC Executive Director Margaret Duval in a statement. “Especially given the state budget crisis, which has severely impacted funding for social services in Illinois, donations such as these are very important to the DVLC.”