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Alec Baldwin Foundation Gives $2.5K to Central Falls Chess Team

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Check, mate! Alec Baldwin may not want to play chess himself this month, but his foundation has just donated $2.5K to the Central Falls Chess Team to propel them to Super Nationals. Photo: Georges Biard/Wiki

The Central Falls chess team has a new fairy godparent… named Alec Baldwin. The Emmy Award® and Golden Globe Award® winning television, film and stage actor's foundation has just pledged a $2,500 donation to the team to help pay for its trip to Super Nationals this year, right as the team is kicking off an online chess tournament to raise funds.

The gift is not the first from the Alec Baldwin Foundation to support causes in Central Falls. In October of 2011, the Adams Memorial Library in Rhode Island's famously struggling city received a $10,000 donation from the foundation when it faced a forced closure.

A stellar program in need of support

The Central Fall chess team--which has amassed 11 state high school and 12 state middle school championships in the past 13 years--has attended 6 national tournaments scoring in the top 10 each time. That's a true dynasty, but didn't help the team fund its well-deserved trip to this year's super national tournament in Nashville, TN.

While the players, teachers, advisors and supporters have worked hard to raise the $8,000 to get the team to Nashville for the tournament, it was falling short by several thousand dollars.

That's when Andrew Shotts, community activist, chocolatier and owner of Central Falls-based Garrison Confections, realized something needed to be done.

"When it was brought to my attention that the CF team was the best in the state but lacked funds, I wanted to get involved to help out," he said. "If it was basketball or badminton, I would have gotten involved. When you have such smart kids willing to learn a skill and are best at it outside of school, they deserve to be seen and show off their talent."

Taking the game online to raise money

Shotts called on RI Food Fights' Jim Nellis for inspiration, and the two came up with an online chess tournament with a $25 contribution entry fee. The grand prize is 4 chocolate gift baskets from Garrison Confections, worth a total of $500. As Nellis set up the online tournament which will kick off in April (go here for rules and how to enter), Shotts reached out for some high-profile online chess players to get the event on the radar.

Suddenly, the Alec Baldwin Foundation reached back to Central Falls announcing its desire to get in the game by supporting the home team with its $2,500 donation.

"When Jim called to tell me, I thought he was joking," Shotts said. "But it makes sense. This is not the first time the Alec Baldwin Foundation has reached out to the Central Falls community."

"We are really excited that this donation and our tournament along with other efforts have insured that the team can attend the 2013 Supernationals!"

Meanwhile, the tournament is going on with even more desire to raise money for supporting this worthy team long past this year's nationals. Entries are open until April 1; Shotts said he will play in the tournament. "Am I going to play? Of course, and I will be beaten on the first move as I know nothing about chess," he said. "I just want to help these brilliant kids."

To read more about the tournament, go here


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