Vaillancourt will begin working with the Astros in January, team owner and chairman Jim Crane announced on Tuesday, and will help lead the development of the team's community outreach and charitable initiatives. Her work will include the expansion of the Community Leaders program Crane started last year, a project that improves and rebuilds public youth baseball fields each year and employs veterans beginning civilian careers in landscaping and facility maintenance.
Vaillancourt, who has also worked for the National Football League, most recently helped transform the Red Sox Foundation -- which raised almost $70 million for nonprofit programs -- into one of the most successful team charities, as evidenced by the Patterson Award for Best Team Charity in Sports and MLB's first Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence it received in 2010. She will continue to serve as a consultant for the Red Sox Foundation next year.
"Given her track record in creating one of the most successful team charities in sports as well as award-winning programs, the Astros are delighted to sign Meg to our team," Crane said in a statement. "We know she will seize the tremendous opportunities that exist here in Houston to help achieve our Texas-sized goals for actively engaging our players, front office staff, sponsors and baseball fans across the region to make a difference in our community."
Vaillancourt, an honors graduate from Harvard College and a Rhodes Scholar, joined the Red Sox in 2003 after serving as vice president of community relations for the New England Patriots. She quickly became known for her innovative fund-raisers, notably the first World Series Ring Raffle, a project that raised $3.4 million after Boston's 2004 and '07 titles and is now used by many championship teams in all professional sports.
"I look forward to the challenge and opportunities of a new start-up and of working with the Astros in harnessing the enormous entrepreneurial energy of Houston to the impressive strategic vision of the team's new ownership, led by Owner and Chairman Jim Crane, President and CEO George Postolos and the Astros in Action board," Vaillancourt said in a statement. "Their commitment to building a championship caliber team on and off the field is deeply inspiring, and I know the work we do will have an enormous impact in the fastest growing city in the United States."