The Bottom of the Ninth embraces a bold vision to be a growing, dynamic organization that supplements the efforts of such groups as (but not limited to) local schools, youth programs, churches and other nonprofit community service organizations that are focused on the continual edification, inspiration and redevelopment of higher moral character standards in our society.
Founder, Ed Hearn, whose unique life circumstances and dynamic communication skills over the past twenty-five years, has positively impacted countless lives through his powerful message at hundreds of business meetings, conventions, public school assemblies, and nonprofit events around the country. He combines his experiences as a World Series champion and survivor of a career-ending injury and debilitating chronic illness to reach deep into the heart of human experience to help others find hope, purpose and the character in the midst of life's triumphs and tragedies.
The Bottom of the Ninth has purposed to expand and support the unique, testimonial platform of Ed Hearn and others like him who have been endowed by God with special stories, abilities or talents, yet would otherwise not have the means to devote themselves to nonprofit groups, churches, and community organizations. We desire to reach out to those who might otherwise not have the opportunity see, hear and learn from such an inordinate level of character role models.
Initially, most projects have been an extension and expansion of the work Ed Hearn has done through his speaking and writing. Even though Ed feels that in the past fifteen years he has been able to impact many lives through his corporate speaking, the development of this foundation is an effort to maximize his platform in areas that he and others could not provide without the time and support of others. Such efforts can only be accomplished, with the financial support of corporate America, public and private foundations, and individuals that desire to see Godlike character development taught and modeled to all whom we can afford to influence.
In addition to Ed Hearn, eventually, other role models will be identified to further multiply the influence. In doing so, the long term goal of The Bottom of the Ninth will be an effort to stimulate and support other talented, exemplary local role models who, by being available to lead by word and example, can have a very positive impact on the character development of our local communities. (i.e., Dick Hathaway – “Natural” Mr. Universe Bodybuilding Champion who became afflicted with Leukemia; he had a bone marrow transplant; lost all his hair, fingernails, & fifty pounds of muscle mass while defeating this deadly condition, yet two short years latter, he had come back to again, regain his title.)
Our goal is to support and strongly encourage these kind of role models to maximize their influence and talents to as many venues as possible without relying solely on the resources of organizations that have their own pressing financial needs.
In order to maintain the purity of the Foundation’s ultimate purpose of boldly rebuilding the spirit and character of this nation, each future role model/presenter will be thoroughly screened and must maintain certain the following criteria:
· Live a lifestyle worthy of imitation;
· Possess a special talent or gift to attract and captivating for those we intend to influence;
· Have a strong desire to rebuild the character of our community; and
· A willingness to be compensated at a small fraction of their fair market value.
It will also be a goal of this Foundation to augment and assist in the development of each future role model's/presenter's ability to clearly communicate their message. Using his experience and expertise as a professional speaker, Ed Hearn, will be available to provide any assistance necessary for each presenter to develop their presentation skills so that they may further maximize the impact of their message. If possible, we will also utilize the expertise and training opportunities presented by the National Speakers Association.
Furthermore, we hope to enhance our efforts through the development and production of other mass media vehicles such as audiocassettes, videotapes, additional books on similar subject material, and possibly the Internet. It will be the mission of the foundation to provide these resources to those who otherwise might not have the opportunity to be exposed to and influenced by such instruments.
The Bottom of the Ninth has identified four project areas in the Kansas City region that provide immediate opportunities to positively impact the lives of our fellow man. Hence, the four project areas and their distinctive targeted groups are as followed:
We may face no bigger challenge today than that of steering our children through a maze of modern day temptations. As parents, it can be frustrating how often our children ignore our guidance yet seem to be so easily influenced by today's "role models" -- the athletes, musicians, and entertainers. It is the purpose of this focus area to capitalize on the platform Ed Hearn has been given as a professional athlete and develop programs that enhance and further reach out to our young people through schools and nonprofit youth development or youth service organizations.
As an outreach to chronically ill patients and their families through hospitals, support groups, and nonprofit health services organizations, the Character to Conquer has very obvious ministry possibilities. As painful as it may seem at the time, many health challenges can be catalysts for unveiling a deeper, more meaningful purpose in one's life. It is the intent of this focus area to utilize the vast experience of Ed Hearn in this very special arena. There may be no greater opportunity to impact lives as when individuals and families are facing these trying times. They are frequently reaching out to grasp for hope and understanding. Furthermore, typically these individuals are most receptive to someone they feel has "walked in their shoes."
Character of Christ (Home Plate on graphic)
We believe this country was founded on the basis of a true Christian heritage. It is the purpose of the Character of Christ focus area to provide special outreach and discipleship opportunities through evangelistic events sponsored by churches, youth groups, nonprofit Christian-affiliated groups and associations. The dynamic testimony that God has constructed in the life of Ed Hearn will be the initial focal point. It closely resembles the words penned by the Apostle Paul. "...so I was given a thorn in the flesh and three times I begged God to make me well again. Each time He said, `No, but I am with you; that is all you need. My strength shows up best in weak people.' Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am. I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ's power, instead of showing off my own abilities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. The less I have, the more I depend on Him."
Ř Unless otherwise specified, all financial support of The Bottom of the Ninth will go to a “General Fund” that will be utilized at the discretion of the Executive Director and Board of Directors. Donors may specifya particular “Project Area” in which to direct their gift(s). These funds would then be utilized exclusively for needs within the parameters of the specified “Project Area(s).”
In order to enhance the opportunity for gaining access to public funding and public organizations who otherwise might not be attracted to supporting some of the above mentioned project areas, we have identified and will use the following nine character traits as a blueprint to make obvious the tremendous value these role models can bring to, not only their community, but ultimately to their own businesses and organizational development:
Our Starting Lineup The Home Team… the good guys with the white hats!
Pitcher INITIATIVE (Motivation, Drive, Follow-Through, Assertiveness, Enthusiasm, Purpose)
Catcher PERSEVERANCE (Endurance, Diligence, Determination, Courage, Boldness, Sacrifice)
1st Baseman RESPONSIBILITY (Discipline, Self-control, Obedience, Dependability, Conscience)
2nd Baseman COMPASSION (Love, Caring, Generosity, Forgiveness, Patience, Empathy, Mercy)
Shortstop RESPECT (Self-Esteem, Tolerance, Courtesy, Honor, Piety, Purity, Courtesy)
3rd Baseman INTEGRITY (Truth, Honesty, Discernment, Trustworthiness, Genuineness, Wisdom)
Left Fielder COOPERATION (Kindness, Teamwork, Loyalty, Dependability, Fairness, Goodness)
Center Fielder POSITIVE ATTITUDE (Enthusiasm, Energy, Confidence, Faith, Happiness)
Right Fielder GRATITUDE (Humility, Thankfulness, Joy, Peace, Modesty, Grace)
In the first 49 years of Ed Hearn’s life, he has lived that which must individuals never get to experience in an entire lifetime. When he speaks about becoming "a champion of life" and overcoming tremendous challenges, he speaks from experience.
In 1986, he fulfilled his childhood dream as a member of the World Champion New York Mets. The following year as a Kansas City Royal, he was set to make the "million dollar bank deposits" today's professional athletes are accustomed to. But suddenly, a serious shoulder injury brought a premature end to what had promised to be a brilliant career. Determined to overcome this untimely setback, he made a successful transition into the "real world." But ten months after his baseball career had ended, he was diagnosed with three very serious and potentially life threatening health conditions. In one short year, he had gone from being a big, strong, highly conditioned athlete to a man who was too weak to get out of bed without assistance.
Today, after 3 kidney transplant, battles with cancer, the aid of a breathing machine each night, an IV treatment once a month, and thousands of dollars worth of medication per year, Ed has come back to live a very full and inspiring life. His faith, coverage and motivation speak volumes to us as we face life's challenges.
But what really makes him so uniquely special is his genuine desire to empower and uplift those around him. In today’s society, it is rare to find individuals who have achieved heights of success, yet also been blessed to experience life-changing challenges that have forced them to grow as individuals in the understanding that there is a far greater purpose in life.
The past fifteen years, Ed has dedicated his life to the new purpose of making a difference in this world as an author and professional speaker. He has studied and honed the skills of communicating the wonderful lessons life has taught him through unique experiences with “the thrills of victory and the agony of defeat.” Consequently, he has become the first and only professional athlete from our country’s major league sports to be awarded the prestigious Certified Speaking Profession (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association. Additionally, of the 5,000 plus speakers of the International Speakers Association, only 7% have been honored as CSP’s.
When you combine all of Ed’s story and attributes, it certainly presents a very powerful and marketable platform from which very few can offer their insights, wisdom and encouragement. He has quickly become one of the up and coming stars of the professional speaking industry. Ed Hearn is truly, a man who can, and does make a significant impact on the lives of those of whom he comes in contact.
Yes, it has been impressive to watch this man, who seemingly lost so much, battle back to turn such challenges into such a positive and inspiring situation. But it has been said, “what lies behind and what lies before you pales in significance when compared with what lies within you.”
Hence, befitting the characteristics of any true successful individual to always strive toward making the most significant contribution possible, Ed Hearn is now turning his passion for speaking and writing efforts to fulfill what he now refers to as “His calling.” The Bottom of the Ninth is a step toward this “Higher Calling.”