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History

The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is a public, not-for-profit national organization founded by Rachel Robinson in 1973 as a vehicle to perpetuate the memory of Jackie Robinson and his achievements.

Navigate with the left and right arrows to read through The Foundation History.

1973

Rachel Robinson Honors her husbands

Rachel Robinson honors her husbands's memory by establishing the Jackie Robinson Foundation following his death in October 1972. In May, Chesebrough–Pond's becomes JRF's first corporate sponsor.

1975

JRF becomes the sole beneficiary of "An Afternoon of Jazz" concert. The concert began in 1963 as a way to raise bail money for jailed civil–rights activists.

Afternoon of Jazz

1978

Jerry Lewis Becomes the Foundation's first President and CEO

Jerry Lewis becomes the Foundation's first President and CEO. Debora Young, the first JRF Scholar, graduates from Boston College; Rachel Robinson is on hand to present Debora's degree.

1979

JRF hosts its first independent Awards Dinner. Robie Awards, the Foundation's highest tribute to an extraordinary individual who has devoted a lifetime to the promotion of social justice and human dignity, are presented to Arthur Ashe and Ralph Ward. JRF opens its office on Court Street in Brooklyn, sharing space with the Jackie Robinson Development Corporation.

JRF host its first independent Awards Dinner

1983

Elaine Weddington, the first graduate of JRF's Sports Management Program

The first Scholars Networking Weekend is held at the Robinson home in Connecticut.

1988

Betty Phillips Adams is JRF's second President and CEO. During her tenure the program expands and Coca–Cola sponsors a traveling exhibit called "Jackie Robinson: An American Journey"

Betty Phillips Adams becomes Jackie Robinson Foundation's second president.

1993

The JRF Alumni Association is established. They begin serving as peer mentors and are appointed to Selection Committees.

JR Alumni are formally assigned to scholarship selection committees

1996

President of the National League, Leonard S. Coleman, Jr.

President of the National League, Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., is appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors.

1997

The nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic entry into baseball. JRF launches a $12 million endowment campaign with a $1 million gift from Major League Baseball. The first endowed scholarship is named for Ennis Cosby.

The nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's historic

1998

Steven Brown becomes JRF's third president

Steven Brown becomes the Foundation's third president. During his first year, 215 scholars were matriculating at 71 colleges and universities across the country.

2001

The Starr Foundation gives two grants totaling $1.7 million

The Starr Foundation gives two grants totaling $1.7 million. It was the largest single gift received by JRF at that time and allowed the Foundation to substantially increase the number of scholars it served.

2003

JRF passes the $10 million mark in scholarship aid

JRF achieves two significant milestones: The 100th Scholar sponsored by first supporter, Unilever (nee Chesebrough–Pond's) is selected. JRF passes the $10 million mark in scholarship aid.

2004

Della Britton Baeza becomes JRF's fourth President and Chief Executive Officer

Della Britton Baeza becomes JRF's fourth President and Chief Executive Officer. She initiates a strategic plan for the future of JRF; working to expand its mission, donor base, technological capabilities, and number of Scholars.

2006

JRF launches the Extra Innings program

JRF launches the "Extra Innings" program with matching funds provided by The Windmill Foundation. The program provides financial support to JRF Scholars who want to pursue graduate degrees.

2007

JRF moves to SoHo district of Manhattan

JRF relocates to state–of–the–art offices in the SoHo district of Manhattan.

2008

JRF celebrates its 35th Anniversary

JRF celebrates its 35th Anniversary. The first class of JRF Scholars to receive a Rachel Robinson International Fellowship or "RRIF," a global initiative to give Scholars the opportunity to travel abroad for community service, travels to Ghana and Mozambique.

2009

Celebration of Jackie Robinson's 90th birthday

Celebration of Jackie Robinson's 90th birthday. JRF announces plans for the Jackie Robinson Museum with NIKE, the Yawkey Foundation, the New York Mets, Citi, and the New York Yankees as early supporters.

2010

Los Angeles office of JRF spearheads the 5th Annual Jazz on the Grass

Los Angeles office of JRF spearheads the 5th Annual Jazz on the Grass held in Sherman Oaks, California

2011

JRF celebrates its 35th Anniversary

JRF bestows inaugural Chairman's Award. The award recognizes outstanding leaders in the sports industry.

2012

JRF launches Program app for JRF Scholars - JRF Connect

JRF launches Program app for JRF Scholars - JRF Connect

2013

JRF celebrates its 40th Anniversary

JRF celebrates its 40th Anniversary; Writer-Director Brian Helgeland's "42", the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures film chronicling Jackie Robinson's first year in the Major Leagues, opened on April 12.