“I have changed employers,” Pujols said in a statement on the Pujols Family Foundation’s website. “It is not my intention to leave the St. Louis community, where I have been blessed with wonderful relationships and the opportunity to care for people in a hurting world.”
Yesterday, the star first baseman shocked the organization he’d played for his entire career by announcing that he was signing with the Los Angeles Angels. In his statement on the foundation’s site, he called the decision difficult.
“After prayerfully considering the offer(s), I made a decision to play for the Los Angeles Angels.”
Pujols also said he hoped to expand his work into California.
“I will still, as always continue the philanthropic work I started in the St. Louis community, while establishing that work in a new community, with new challenges. I have always been dedicated equally to my work off the field and on the field. This is a great opportunity to further impact causes that are close to (my wife) Dee Dee's and my heart.”
The Foundation echoed Pujols’ sentiments.
“Please be assured that our commitment to furthering God’s mission in the St. Louis community and beyond remains unchanged,” the organization said in its own statement. “We ask for your prayerful consideration as we seek His guidance in the days and weeks ahead.”
The Pujols Family Foundation benefits families affected by Down Syndrome and impoverished people in the Dominican Republic. Foundation CEO Todd Perry said he isn’t sure whether the organization’s headquarters will be moved to Los Angeles.
"But as far as shutting it down and moving it? Absolutely not," Perry told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Our commitment was never to the Cardinals. It was to the families of St. Louis who have Down syndrome. This never had anything to do with baseball and the Cardinals. It has to do with love, and supporting people with Down syndrome and their families. He could retire and that won't change."
Even before the decision, the foundation expressed its support of Pujols to the Albert Pujols Examiner on Tuesday.
“No matter what happens, we know that Albert will be doing great things wherever he may go,” the group said via Twitter.
The Pujols Family Foundation is, contrary to popular belief, not funded by Pujols. He and wife Deidre decided to set up a public nonprofit rather than a private one, which limits how much they are allowed to donate.
“Albert and Dee Dee were very adamant when they put this together,” Perry told the Pujols Examiner in an interview earlier this year. “‘This isn’t our thing, this belongs to the community, this belongs to everyone.’ Looking back, it was absolutely the right decision. It’s their name, it’s their vision, it’s their heart, but ultimately, it does belong to the community and is supported by the community.”
To donate to the Pujols Family Foundation, visit their website.