The Jackie Robinson Foundation deeply mourns the death of its former president Betty Phillips Adams. Adams died in New York City on July 5th. Betty Adams became JRF's second president in 1987 and led the Foundation for a decade. Adams' tenure was pivotal in the development of the Foundation's robust education and leadership program that accompanies the generous scholarship grants given out each year. She also spearheaded the start of the JRF Alumni Association. In 1987, she led the fortieth year commemoration of Jackie Robinson's barrier-breaking entry into major league baseball by engaging the Coca-Cola Company to sponsor the "Jackie Robinson: An American Journey" exhibition, which traveled to seven major cities in three years.
"Betty was an integral part of the tremendous growth of the Foundation and in carrying forth Jack's legacy," said Jackie Robinson Foundation Founder Rachel Robinson. "The Foundation and I, personally, are deeply saddened by her untimely death."
"Betty's wisdom, vision and hard work were critical in the development of the Foundation's celebrated education and mentoring program that for 40 years has addressed head-on the achievement gap in higher education," said JRF President and CEO Della Britton Baeza. "And I am grateful that long after her tenure as president, Betty remained active in JRF, volunteering her time with our Scholar Advisory Committees and encouraging me personally. Despite her active schedule and physical challenges later on, Betty was never too busy to offer her sage advice. We will miss her dearly."
Born in Washington, DC., Adams received an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a graduate degree from Stanford University. She held executive positions at the National Urban League and was a consultant to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. In 2003, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Adams to the city's Rent Guidelines Board.
Betty Adams is survived by two sisters, Barbara Phillips and Valeria Phillips; a brother Charles W. Phillips IV; a niece, Elyse Phillips and a nephew, Charles W. Phillips V.
A service and celebration will be held at 1:00 pm on September 21, 2013 at St. Michael's Episcopal Church located at 225 West 99th Street in New York.