JRF Board Member and Chairman of Willis Group Holdings Makes Personal Pledge of $2 million
(April 11, 2013)-The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) has announced that Joseph J. Plumeri, global business leader and serving member of the Foundation board, will chair the Jackie Robinson Museum capital campaign to build a museum commemorating the life and legacy of a true American hero.
A global business icon, Joe successfully led Willis Group Holdings plc, one of the world’s leading insurance brokers, as Chairman and CEO for more than 12 years. He retired as CEO on December 31, 2012, and currently serves as the Group’s Non-Executive Chairman.
Plumeri will lead the campaign to build the museum in New York City, chronicling Jackie Robinson’s historic entry into baseball’s major league in the mid-1940’s and his subsequent and pr o found impact on the entire social landscape of America. The museum will also introduce and elevate the accomplishments of other African American pioneers of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Remarkably, New York City has no fixed tribute to the modern Civil Rights era, making this project a highly anticipated one.
The JRF Board co-chair Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., commented, “The momentum for this museum has been building and is gaining even more traction as the feature film “42” is set for national release by Legendary and Warner Brothers on April 12th. With the passion and expertise that Joe uniquely brings, we enthusiastically mark the beginning of the public campaign for this important project.”
Joe Plumeri has been an outspoken and dynamic leader of the insurance industry in an era of unprecedented change, pressing for greater transparency, integrity, client service and innovation. St. John’s University School of Risk Management named him 2006 Insurance Leader of the Year. In 2009 and 2010, he was named one of Treasury & Risk magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in Finance.” Prior to joining Willis, Joe had a 32-year career at Citigroup and its predecessor companies, including as CEO of Citibank North America; Chairman and CEO of Travelers Primerica Financial Services; Vice Chairman of the Travelers Group; and President and Managing Partner of Shearson Lehman Brothers.
An active and committed community leader, Joe has been honored by numerous civic and philanthropic organizations, including the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation in 2009 for his impact on the reputation of the insurance industry, the Sons of Italy Foundation, the Intrepid Foundation, the Boy Scouts of America, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. He was named Grand Marshal for the 2011 New York City Columbus Day Parade and serves on the boards of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Churchill Centre and Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms in London, among others.
A sports fan and lifelong athlete, Joe was Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority from 1997 to 2004. He also is co-owner of two New Jersey minor league baseball teams, New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies affiliates.
Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s wife and founder of JRF, said “I am delighted that Joe has taken on this leadership position with our museum project. He has been an exemplary leader and wonderful, selfless supporter on our board. I personally am so grateful for his generosity both with his time and financially. I will do whatever I can to assist him in whatever way he thinks I can.”
“I am thrilled to be part of this crucial phase in what will be an extraordinary museum honoring an extraordinary American,” said Plumeri. “Especially with regard to young people, this museum will surely educate them, but I hope it will also spark their interest in promoting positive change and ignite in them the same values of courage, integrity and grit that Jackie Robinson displayed in all that he did. Indeed, it will provide powerful and muchneeded inspiration to all of its visitors.”
The national campaign is designed to raise $42 million, $22 million to build the Museum and the balance to provide for longer term operational needs and programs. The successful fund drive will ensure that the museum’s educational exhibits and programs stay current with today’s technology, providing information and interactive applications for visitors from across America and throughout the world.
To be located on the ground floor of One Hudson Square, 75 Varick Street at the intersection of Canal Street in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, the Museum’s permanent exhibition space will be filled with multi-layered exhibits, rich with artifacts, cultural history, and historical footage. When the exhibits are retracted, the Museum will host lectures, symposia, concerts, and receptions that will explore social issues and encourage tolerance and inclusion. The Museum is expected to open by the spring of 2015.
About the Jackie Robinson Foundation:
Established in 1973, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is the nation’s premier education and leadership development program. Transcending financial assistance, the Foundation equips its scholarship recipients with a comprehensive set of support services including internship placement, career guidance, and practical life skills, resulting in a nearly 100% graduation rate, more than twice the national average for minority students. The over 1,400 JRF alumni are both leaders in their professional fields and consummate ambassadors of Jackie Robinson’s legacy of community service. This 2012-2013 academic year, JRF is providing generous financial aid and program support to 181 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars representing 30 states and the District of Columbia and enrolled in 87 different colleges and universities across the country.