The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) presented the 2014 ROBIE Awards at its Annual Awards Dinner Monday evening, March 3rd at New York’s Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. Hosted by Legendary entertainer Bill Cosby, the event paid tribute to individuals who embody the humanitarian ideals and spirit of Jackie Robinson and raised funds for the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s model education program and the Jackie Robinson Museum project.
Sanford I. Weill, Chairman Emeritus of Citigroup, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. Presenting the award was JRF alumna and member of the JRF Board of Directors, Sobani Warner who described the honoree’s extensive philanthropic history. Upon receiving the award, Mr. Weill complimented the Foundation on its comprehensive program of providing mentoring, internships and ‘showing people that there’s a life beyond that entry level job’. “Education is the key that opens the door to the future of young people,” he told the crowd of close to 1200.
Northrop Grumman's Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Wes Bush, was presented the ROBIE Achievement in Industry Award by University of Maryland, Baltimore County President Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski. Upon his acceptance, Mr. Bush remarked, “Business has to be an active partner. It has to help mentor. It has to reach out to educators. It has to shape the outcomes. It’s hard to find a better partner than JRF. This is an organization that produces big outcomes,” he concluded.
New York Yankee great Mariano Rivera was the event’s “closer”. He received the ROBIE Humanitarian Award from Jackie and Rachel Robinson’s daughter and Foundation Vice-chair, Sharon Robinson. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Rivera, the last Major League ball player to wear the number #42, gave thanks to the Foundation for the honor and noted, “Jackie Robinson opened doors for us in giving us an opportunity as minorities to play the game that we love to play and the game he loved and had passion for.”
Jennifer Holliday provided special musical entertainment during the festivities, bringing the crowd to their feet as she sang her Tony and GRAMMY award-winning hit, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”.
The evening also featured the Voices of the Jackie Robinson Foundation made up of present JRF Scholars and alumni. “What a glorious evening, said Jackie Robinson Foundation President and CEO Della Britton Baeza. “We not only had the opportunity to honor three extraordinary individuals who are making a difference in the lives of so many, but we were also able to introduce the incredible JRF Scholars to our many partners and friends who support our mission.”
Pictured above: JRF Founder Rachel Robinson; Chairman Emeritus Citigroup Sanford I. Weill; Chairman, CEO and President of Northrup Grumman Wes Bush; New York Yankee great Mariano Rivera and JRF President and CEO Della Britton Baeza.