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The love of baseball and the dream to support youth, forever, was a driving force for John Ignatius to form a local Community Foundation in Southeastern Alberta.

In 1996, John began a conversation with Lovell McDonnell, Medicine Hat Big League Baseball Manager, to find out how he could support local baseball programs. Lovell was anticipating financial support to purchase new uniforms, baseballs, or perhaps renting a bus for tournaments. However, John’s vision was long term – instead, he created a scholarship fund with the Community Foundation of Southeastern Alberta, to support baseball players every year.

“If I had a choice at the time, I would have probably spent this kind of funding on something else with immediate results and not have been patient for long term gain. However, I thank John for his great vision in the formation of the Community Foundation and his generous contribution to our baseball program.”  – Lovell McDonnell, Friends of Medicine Hat Youth Baseball Society

In 1998, John established the TX Ranches Baseball Fund with an initial $40,000 donation to support the Friends of Medicine Hat Youth Baseball Society. In 2022, the 30th anniversary of the Community Foundation, the scholarship has now distributed over $46,000! The scholarship distributions have surpassed the original donation and will continue to support youth baseball today, tomorrow, and forever!

“Baseball has been more than just a game for me. Through both playing and coaching the sport, I have made lifelong best friends, made some of my fondest memories, and learned valuable lessons that have shaped who I am today. Receiving the John Ignatius TX Ranching Scholarship through the Community Foundation was an incredible honour and helped tremendously in allowing me to pursue my post-secondary studies. I am beyond grateful for the scholarship, as well as all those I have encountered along the way throughout my baseball journey.” – Intek Hong, 2016 Scholarship Recipient, Monarch’s Baseball Coach

As it turns out, John Ignatius was not the only one interested in supporting youth baseball in Medicine Hat. In 2004, Ken Sauer, Mary Lou Hansen, and Mike Hertz formed the Medicine Hat Baseball Canada Cup Society to lead and plan multi-year Canada Cup championship tournaments. Once these tournaments were over, in 2009, their committee decided that the remaining legacy funds, totaling $40,000, would be invested in the Community Foundation to support Medicine Hat and area high school baseball players. The Friends of Medicine Hat Youth Baseball Society has benefited from over $19,000 in scholarship in just 11 years of distributions.

“It’s so cool and incredibly humbling to look back at the Medicine Hat Baseball Canada Cup Scholarship and think I was the first recipient over a decade ago. Baseball was so integral in developing my personality and helping to form bonds that will last a lifetime. This scholarship also kicked off my career in a roundabout way. It helped pay tuition for the education program at MHC which led me to CHAT 94.5 some 10 years later. I’m fortunate to also sit on the Community Leadership Committee at CFSEA, where I get to help give back to a community and organization that helped influence my future. Without baseball, the Medicine Hat Baseball Canada Cup Scholarship, and my time at MHC, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” – Lance Doll, 2011 Scholarship Recipient, current CHAT 94.5 Morning Co-Host


Pictured in photo from left to right: Intek Hong (Scholarship Recipient), Ken Sauer (Treasurer), Mary Lou Hansen (President of Baseball Canada Cup), Mike Christie (Former Executive Director of CFSEA), Lovell McDonnell (MH Big League Baseball Association).

“30 Stories for 30 Years”