UPDATED: New Haven Baseball Association getting overwhelming support over $19,000 reported theft

The New Haven Community Foundation is one of the groups and individuals that have donated money to help the New Haven Baseball Association after the alleged theft of about $19,000 from the organization. (Photo courtesy of FreeImages.com)

Editor’s note: As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, the GoFundMe campaign for New Haven Baseball Association had surpassed the 19,000 goal.

The New Haven Community Foundation board said Friday it has voted to give $2,000 to the New Haven Baseball Association in response to a reported theft of $19,000 from the group.

The foundation is just one of numerous groups and individuals who have responded to a GoFundMe campaign to replace the alleged stolen money. The site had pledges of $17,550 by midafternoon Friday, a little over a day after the campaign was started by Wes Anderson, a New Haven Community Foundation board member and owner of Rack & Helen’s Bar.

The fundraiser has drawn many messages of support from those in the community with ties to the fun that kids have gotten over the years to “play ball.”

“The future for New Haven Baseball Association now looks very bright,” wrote Joe Kline, NHBA president, on the group’s Facebook page after receiving numerous messages and calls once news broke this week of the theft, which occurred last year. “We want a safe and friendly place for kids to learn and play baseball for generations to come.”

The association provides baseball and T-ball instruction and leagues for ages 4-14.

Michael Delong is facing two felony charges in Allen Superior Court related to the missing $19,000: theft and theft with a prior conviction for either theft or conversion. His next court appearance is April 11. He has requested a public defender in the case.

The baseball group has also filed a civil lawsuit against Delong, which is still going forward.

“It’s never been about money, it’s always been about what we feel is justice to those who took from the kids and league,” board member Jeff Turner wrote in response to a question from News-Sentinel.com.

Another person who the group holds responsible for the theft was removed from the board but has not been charged.

New Haven Community Foundation board members, like many others in the community, felt they should make a contribution. It aligns with the group’s mission statement: “Enhancing life and investing in our future,” the group said in a news release.

For the campaign’s GoFundMe page visit www.gofundme.com/nh-youth-baseball-assoc-robbed.