COLORADO SPRINGS — For as long as 16-year-old Josh Kates can remember, baseball has been a huge part of his life.
"If I can help a kid start and that's what gets him through all these years, that would mean the world to me," Kates said.
However, as a player, coach, and umpire, the Air Academy junior came to a realization: The sport he loves hasn't spread the way he hoped.
"I wanted to do something in my community," Kates said. "I saw Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond spoke out specifically about this issue of racial inequality in baseball and I was like, "I've been around this, let me start this, let me do this, let me take that extra step."
Stepping up to the plate last month, the "Equality at the Plate" Foundation was born.
"My goal is to get resources from where they are to where they're needed," Kates said.
It's a non-profit organization that provides funds and equipment to help solve racial and socioeconomic inequality in baseball.
"I want baseball to be equal with basketball, football, track, and any other sport," Kates said. "I want to be like, "If you like baseball you can play it" and have the resources and opportunity to do it."
"He's doing a lot more than me or anyone else at 16 but it's going to do so much for this community," Sierra baseball coach Andrew Buxton said.
A true utility player, the Colorado Springs native does it all. Distributing gear, taking donations, and advocating for a more inclusive game. With the ultimate goal being that anyone can play ball.
"It has been great I've gotten so much support, essentially $700 in donations and equipment," Kates said. "It has spread and become so much bigger than I ever hoped."
Kates is currently focused on helping communities across Colorado but plans to send some of the donations to South America this summer.
To find out more or to make a contribution, click on the link: Equality at the Plate