JRF to Honor Alex Gorsky & Claire Smith at the Foundation’s Annual ROBIE Awards Dinner

Jackie Robinson Foundation to Honor 
Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson and
Claire Smith, Pioneering Sports Journalist
At the Foundation’s Annual ROBIE Awards Dinner 

Grammy Award Nominee Deborah Cox and Ray Chew Live to Perform

 Monday, March 6, 2017, at the New York Marriott Marquis


The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) announced that it will honor Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky, with the ROBIE Achievement in Industry Award and pioneering sports journalist, Claire Smith, with the ROBIE Pioneer Award on Monday, March 6, 2017 at its annual ROBIE Awards Dinner in New York City.  Both honorees will be recognized for promoting the humanitarian ideals embodied in the life of Jackie Robinson. The Awards Dinner is the culmination of the Foundation’s annual Mentoring & Leadership Conference, a keystone of its celebrated college scholarship program. For 44 years, the Jackie Robinson Foundation has administered a unique scholarship program that provides generous four-year grants accompanied by comprehensive support services, resulting in its “JRF Scholars” achieving a consistent, nearly 100% college graduation rate.   

This year, the ROBIE Awards Dinner will raise funds to support the Foundation’s scholarship program as well as the Jackie Robinson Museum.  

R&B star and Grammy Award nominee Deborah Cox and Ray Chew Live will entertain the approximately 1,000 guests expected to attend the Dinner.

“This year’s ROBIE honorees have had a remarkable impact in communities throughout the country and across the globe,” said Della Britton, President and CEO of JRF.  “As a decades old organization committed to empowering young men and women, we are proud to recognize these leaders for their bold advocacy for diversity, equal opportunity and their demonstrated dedication to giving back.”

For Annual Awards Dinner information & tickets: www.jackierobinson.org/support/awards-dinner/

The 2017 Honorees:

Alex Gorsky

JRF’s ROBIE Achievement in Industry Award

Alex Gorsky is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson. He is also a member of the Executive Committee, the Company’s senior leadership team.  A longtime advocate of diversity and inclusion, Mr. Gorsky has been named one of the “100 Most Inspiring Leaders” by Pharma Voice.  He is the Executive Sponsor of two Johnson & Johnson employee resource groups, the Women’s Leadership Initiative and the Veteran’s Leadership Council.  Mr. Gorsky is a member of the Board of Directors of IBM, the Congressional Medal of Honor Board of Directors and of the Board of the National Academy Foundation.  He is also a member of the Business Council and the Business Roundtable. Mr. Gorsky was recently given the Joseph Wharton Leadership Award and the CADCA Humanitarian of the Year Award, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.  After graduation from the United States Military Academy, Mr. Gorsky served six years in the United States Army and later earned his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.

Claire Smith

JRF’s ROBIE Pioneer Award

Claire Smith has been a pioneer within the baseball community for 35 years. She was the first female to cover a Major League Baseball beat full-time and the second national baseball columnist in the country. In her career, she has written for multiple newspapers including The Hartford Courant, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New York Times.  She is now a coordinating news editor with ESPN.  Ms. Smith has been an influential voice among African-American writers and editors throughout her career.  She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and winner of three New York Times Publishers’ Awards. She was recently named the 68th recipient of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the highest honor a baseball writer can receive. She is the first woman to receive the honor.

At this stand-out New York City event for the past 38 years, the Jackie Robinson Foundation has recognized some of the most important leaders in a great number of sectors throughout society, including Henry L. “Hank” Aaron, Tom Brokaw, Wes Bush, Clive Davis, John D. Finnegan, Dick Gregory, Gerald Hassell, Sheila C. Johnson, Michael Jordan, George Lucas, J.W. Marriott, Jr., Rita Moreno, Joseph Perella, Tyler Perry, Joseph J. Plumeri, Jr., Robert Redford, Mariano Rivera, Robin Roberts, Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Henry R. Silverman, Ruth J. Simmons, Robert F. Smith, Thomas Tull, Sanford I. Weill, and Stevie Wonder. For a full list of Awards Dinner honorees, click here (pdf).  


Annual Awards Dinner 2017 Sponsors

As of February 22, 2017, the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner leadership sponsors include:  Unilever, Major League Baseball, New Era Cap Company, Praxair, The M.J. and Caral G. Lebworth Foundation, BNY Mellon, Deloitte, The Windmill Foundation, ESPN, Ford Motor Company Fund, General Electric Company, Martin L. Edelman, Esq., Nike, Northrop Grumman Foundation, Sheila C. Johnson, The Coca-Cola Company, Allen & Company, Gregg Gonsalves, Jose M. Rivera, Peter O’Malley, PGIM, The Wilf Family Foundation, Gerald Colangelo, George Lucas Family Foundation, Safe at Home Foundation and Scholastic.

About The Jackie Robinson Foundation

Founded by Rachel Robinson in 1973 to perpetuate the memory of Jackie Robinson, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is a public, non-profit organization that administers one of the nation’s premier education and leadership development programs for minority college students. In addition to four-years of generous financial assistance, JRF offers an unparalleled, comprehensive set of support services that has led to a consistent, nearly 100% graduation rate among African American college students. The 1,500 JRF alumni are proven leaders in their communities and across a broad range of professional fields –serving as true ambassadors of Jackie Robinson’s legacy of service, excellence and humanitarianism. JRF has disbursed over $70 million in grants and direct program support to students who have attended over 260 different colleges and universities across the country. The Jackie Robinson Foundation is engaged currently in building the Jackie Robinson Museum to educate and inspire visitors of all generations around Jackie Robinson’s courageous achievements on and off the field. For more information, visit www.jackierobinson.org.