It takes an exceptional type of person to succeed as a division I student athlete. Yet, University of San Francisco’s Bob Mott is not only a success at academics and athletics, he takes his role as a student athlete one step further by adding community service to the mix. The senior pitcher/outfielder from San Luis Obispo, CA has combined his passion for baseball and his passion for service into an innovative project called Home Runs for Health, a fundraising venture that works to send malaria nets to Africa. Last year the USF baseball team raised enough money to buy 110 malaria nets. This year the project is nicknamed Strike Out Malaria, encouraging donations for every strike out as opposed to every home run.
“For every strike out, were doing $3 towards a net and malaria nets are $10. It’s like 3 strikes,” Mott explained.
Mott, who has been playing baseball “since forever,” comes from a family of athletes, but was also raised to be involved with Africa and community service. Mott and his family have traveled extensively, including four trips to Africa. He has been to Egypt, Tanzania, South Africa and has visited Kenya three times, the country where he first found his inspiration to start actively fighting malaria.
“In 2005, the first time in Kenya, we went into the slums and saw how bad everything was. It just inspired me to do something, to try to help out,” Mott said.
In 2006, a Sports Illustrated article written by Rick Reilly about the necessity of malaria nets led to the creation of Nothing But Nets, a UN Foundation program that buys and sends malaria nets to Africa.
“[The article] basically said everyone should donate one net, instead of sending soccer nets to Africa, send malaria nets, they are much more useful,” Mott said.
Mott began raising money for Nothing But Nets with his basketball team during his last few years in high school. As a USF baseball player, he has founded the fundraising program at USF and is now reaching out to the other baseball programs in the West Coast Conference.
“It’s really easy to donate, anyone can donate. We plan on donating within the team a little bit but most of it will be outside donors,” Mott said.
“We’re trying to get other schools in our conference involved, but we haven’t heard back from any of them yet….we’re going to reach out to them and hopefully get that going and get some more strike-outs.”
Last August, Mott was named the USF 2011-2012 Spirit of St. Francis Medalist, an award that is given to the student who proves them self to be a person of compassion and service to others in need.
“Charity work is so important to me because that’s how I believe an individual can make the world a better place,” Mott said upon receiving the award.
“It can be with a donation or helping with your own hands, as long as you are making the lives of those in need better. That’s really what life is about.”
In the words of Father Privett, “Bob Mott perfectly exemplifies the University’s tag line, ‘Change the World from Here.”
Mott is currently a senior International Business major and will be graduating this spring. However, Tommy John surgery in his arm forced Mott to red shirt last baseball season. He will be remaining at USF next year to earn a master’s degree in International Studies, to play his senior season, and to keep up the fundraising effort in order to send as many malaria nets as possible to those in need.
Follow this link to donate to the cause!