Cubs' Cole Hamels' foundation funds STEM education in Chicago area, Africa

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels is set to host his first Chicago gala benefiting the Hamels Foundation, now in its 10th year.

The foundation provides priceless STEM-based education to local, national and international students. He and his wife Heidi have helped build a school in Malawi, but now the couple wants to invest in Chicago schools.

Cole, the son of a former school superintendent, fully understands the importance of the cause.

"You start to see how fortunate I was being raised with my dad so focused on basically moving us to a good school district," he said.

He says his work with the foundation brings things "full circle."

"And it's the best thing when you actually see kids -- and now that we've been doing it long enough, we're now seeing kids nine, eight years ago -- that are now able to say, 'Hey, that program that you guys made ... that helped get me where I am today,'" he said. "And that's what we've really tried to do. And to see that impact has really made it all worthwhile and why we want to continue it."

The Cubs pitcher said his teammates will serve as the gala's wait staff.

"We've always tried to do something that involved music and teammates and some local celebrities. We've done kind of a diamond and denim thing in the past and we try to make it fun," he said. "Most of the time you're dressing up in suits and ties, you know, it's cocktail hour, so let's make it a little lighthearted but fun."

Hamels said people are more than welcome to donate to the foundation's Malawi project if they want to, but he's focused on keeping the funds here in the Chicago area. He plans to be very hands-on in distributing the money.

"We really want to get down and get to know the principals, the school district it's going to go to and really get to know what the needs are and make sure they are really valued because we want to make sure we have the biggest impact," he said.

There are still limited tickets available for the event on Sunday, August 4. Get your ticket and learn more about the Hamels Foundation on the organization's website.
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