JRF Celebrates Anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Birthday

Presents Inaugural Chairman’s Award to Jerry Reinsdorf and Jerry and Mary McMorris

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney sponsors the Celebration

Special Guests included: Don Baylor, Omar Minaya, Joe Morgan, Joe Torre and Bernie Williams

NEW YORK (January 21, 2011) – The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) celebrated the anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s birthday on Thursday, January 20, with a private reception recognizing Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Colorado Rockies former owners Jerry and Mary McMorris.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney sponsored the intimate evening with many of baseball’s legends in attendance. Held at the JRF Headquarters and future site of the Jackie Robinson Museum in lower Manhattan, the event paid tribute to three exceptional owners who have helped to shape the modern face of baseball. Jerry Reinsdorf and Jerry and Mary McMorris were each presented with the Foundation’s inaugural Chairman’s Award. The Chairman’s Award recognizes outstanding leaders on the business side of the sports industry who have promoted the values embodied in the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson. Opening remarks were made by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Director of Investment Strategy and Solutions Paul Hatch, Leonard S. Coleman, Chairperson of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and Della Britton Baeza, President and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

“We are especially pleased to honor Jerry Reinsdorf and Jerry and Mary McMorris for their commitment to ensuring a level playing field within all aspects of sports entertainment and management,” said Chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Board of Directors, Leonard S. Coleman, Jr. and Della Britton Baeza praised the Chairman’s Award recipients for “their generous and unwavering support for a variety of worthy causes outside of sports, including their promotion of equal access to education.” Noteworthy is that the Foundation’s Chairman, Mr. Coleman, himself is a former, high level professional baseball executive having served as President of the National League of Professional Baseball, among other titles.

A fascinating and spirited question and answer session moderated by Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan included celebrity guests Joe Torre, former Yankees and Dodgers manager, Don Baylor, former baseball great and current Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach hitting coach, and former Yankee outfielder Bernie Williams. Omar Minaya, former General Manager for the Montreal Expos and New York Mets was also in attendance. The event helped raise valuable funding for scholarships, mentoring, and leadership development services for Foundation scholarship recipients, JRF Scholars as well as support for the prospective Jackie Robinson Museum. The Jackie Robinson Museum will honor the legacy and ongoing influence of Jackie’s commitment to civil rights.

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. During his ten year career, Robinson was named Rookie of the Year (1947), Most Valuable Player (1949) and helped the Dodgers win six pennants and one World Series in 1955. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. His heroics began in the confines of the venerable Ebbets Field but spawned cataclysmic social changes. Established in 1973, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is the nation’s premier college scholarship and leadership development program. Transcending financial assistance, the Foundation equips its carefully chosen scholarship recipients with a comprehensive set of strategies for success and leadership skills, resulting in a nearly 100% graduation rate, more than twice the national average for minority college students. The over 1,400 JRF alumni are both leaders in their professional fields and consummate ambassadors of Jackie Robinson’s legacy of responsible leadership and community service.

This 2010-2011 academic year, JRF is providing generous financial aid and program support to 220 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars representing 31 states and the District of Columbia and enrolled in 92 different colleges and universities across the country.

For more information about JRF, visit www.jackierobinson.org.