For selfless work, Kershaw up for Clemente

For selfless work, Kershaw up for Clemente

LOS ANGELES -- There is more to Clayton Kershaw than Cy Young Award credentials. For proof, visit kershawschallenge.com.

That's where you will see the other side of the Dodgers left-hander, the side that made him the club's nominee for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award.

"It's an honor, and I'm thankful to the Dodgers for recognizing me for the work we've done," said Kershaw. "If anything, it gives visibility to the charity and the goal we have set, and that's huge."

All 30 club nominees have immersed themselves in the type of humanitarian and community efforts that distinguished the life of the Hall of Famer Clemente, a life that ended at age 38 on New Year's Eve 1972, when the plane he was using to deliver aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims crashed.

Fans will once again have the opportunity to participate in the selection of the national winner. They can cast votes for any of the 30 club nominees through Oct. 9.

The fan-ballot winner will be tallied as one vote among those cast by a special selection panel of baseball dignitaries and media members. The panel includes Commissioner Bud Selig and Vera Clemente, widow of the Hall of Fame right fielder.

Voting fans also will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip for four to the 2011 World Series to see the national winner presented with the Roberto Clemente Award.

If it turns out to be Kershaw, it will be for his support of Arise Africa, an organization created to assist various countries on the continent in health care, education, business and discipleship. Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have donated both significant time and money to the cause over the past several years.

Through the Kershaw Challenge, the All-Star pitcher pledged to donate $100 per strikeout to help raise money to build an orphanage in a remote village outside Lusaka, Zambia, where the Kershaws visited shortly after their wedding last winter.

Through the challenge, Kershaw will be contributing more than $20,000 of the needed $70,000 for the orphanage, with hopes that fans will pitch in, too. The current total of donations is in excess of $45,000.

"Once in a while, people will say they love what we're doing in Africa," Kershaw said. "Ellen really gets the credit. She has been going there for years and telling me stories of the children, and it wasn't until I finally went with her that I was able to see the need that is there and how appreciative the children are for the help."

Kershaw's charitable efforts are not limited to Arise Africa, as he has also supported the Dodgers Dream Foundation during his time in Los Angeles. He has attended the annual bowling extravaganza, hosted by teammate James Loney, each season. At the annual "Youth Baseball Camp" hosted by the Dodgers Dream Foundation, Kershaw spoke with the campers and provided advice for on- and off-the-field topics. He also participated in the Dodgers' campaign with The Heart Gallery to help foster children find a home.

In 2011, Kershaw donated time to a pair of teammate fundraisers to help raise money for the victims of the tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., and throughout Alabama.

Each year, Kershaw participates in the "ThinkCure Radio-Telethon," which raises money for collaborative cancer research at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and City of Hope.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.