Sharon Robinson & Hannah Storm Will Host Celebrity Reception
Cubs Legend Ernie Banks, Robinson Teammate Ralph Branca To Attend
New York, New York, January 16, 2006 -The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) today announced it will host a reception on Monday, January 23rd from 6pm-8pm at the ESPN Zone (Broadway and 42nd Street) in Times Square commemorating Jackie Robinson’s birthday. The baseball great was born on January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. The evening will be sponsored in part by DiversityInc Magazine and UpCountry International.
The invitation only event will be hosted by Sharon Robinson, daughter of the trailblazing athlete and Hannah Storm, co-host of the CBS Early Show. The evening will pay tribute to the impact the baseball legend had on baseball and society while highlighting the continuing mission of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. Featured speakers will include Sharon Robinson, Hannah Storm and Della Britton Baeza, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Jackie Robinson Foundation. Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars will also be on hand to share with members of the media the impact the Foundation has made in their lives. Profiles of select Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars are enclosed. Sharon Robinson, Storm, Baeza as well as Ernie Banks and Ralph Branca will all be available to the media.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Over his ten year career, he was named Rookie of the Year (1947), Most Valuable Player (National League – 1949) and helped the Dodgers win six pennants and one World Series in 1955. His heroics began in the confines of the venerable Ebbets Field but spawned cataclysmic social changes that predated Rosa Parks by nearly a decade.
“This event allows us to pay tribute on an annual basis to a man who continues to make a difference in the lives of so many. His actions paved the way for America to move towards becoming a more inclusive society,” said Della Britton Baeza, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. “We are proud to keep his legacy alive through the work of the Foundation, its Scholars, Alumni and all our supporters.”
Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, a member of the Foundation’s Los Angeles Advisory Committee, will be on hand for the celebration. The effusive shortstop-turned-first-baseman remains a fan favorite as well as loyal supporter of The Jackie Robinson Foundation. Dodgers icon Ralph Branca, one of Jackie’s last surviving teammates, will attend the celebration as well. Branca has been an active and energetic philanthropist since his retirement, working on a variety of Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) initiatives along with his commitment to The Jackie Robinson Foundation. Media personality Maurice DuBois of WCBS-TV in New York will round out the celebrity attendance list. DuBois has been a familiar face at recent Foundation events, including JRF’s Golf Classic, which took place last September at The Lake of Isles Club at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Invited guests to the reception include Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson and Founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, acclaimed film director Spike Lee, New York Mets General Manager and Manager, Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph, and George Bodenheimer, President of ESPN.
Founded in 1973, the Jackie Robinson Foundation is a public, not-for-profit national organization launched by Rachel Robinson as a vehicle to perpetuate the memory of Jackie Robinson and his achievements. It provides four year college scholarships as well as educational and leadership development opportunities for students of color with strong capabilities, but limited financial resources. The Foundation strives to assure that the legacy of Jackie Robinson’s commitment to social justice will be carried forth in the personal, community and institutional lives of these individuals as they assume leadership roles throughout society.
This academic year (2005-2006), JRF is providing more than $1.8 million in scholarship support to 266 Jackie Robinson Scholars representing 33 states. Enrolled in 93 different institutions, Jackie Robinson Scholars attend some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the United States and maintain a 97% graduation rate, highest among comparable programs. For additional information on the Jackie Robinson Foundation, its programs and events, please contact JRF at 3 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001, or call (212) 290-8600. You may also visit the Foundation’s official web site at www.jackierobinson.org.