MLB to Sponsor 30 College Scholarships, Enlist JRF Scholars to Mentor Young People in MLB’s Youth & Community Programs and Donate $1 Million to Jackie Robinson Museum Project
(L to R) Della Britton Baeza, JRF President and CEO; Robert D. Manfred, Jr., Commissioner of Major League Baseball; Rachel Robinson; Sharon Robinson and Thomas Bennett, JRF alumnus, class of 2006 (photo by John Vecchiolla for JRF)
NEW YORK (April 12, 2016) As the baseball world prepares for Jackie Robinson Day, the 13th annual MLB celebration of Jackie Robinson’s enduring legacy, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) announced today that MLB has increased its financial commitment to the Foundation and that the two organizations will expand their programmatic partnership beginning this year. MLB will greatly enhance its longstanding philanthropic support by funding 30 four-year JRF scholarships – one for each of the 30 MLB Clubs and by contributing $1 million to the Foundation’s Jackie Robinson Museum project. Additionally, MLB and JRF will engage JRF Scholars to mentor young people in MLB’s youth and community partnership programs, including Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), MLB Urban Youth Academies and MLB-supported Boys & Girls Clubs of America programs. JRF Scholars will mentor participants in these various youth programs, encouraging their young mentees to embrace educational opportunities and joining them in extra-curricular activities, such as attending MLB games with the League’s support.
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “Jackie Robinson inspired change throughout the National Pastime and society. Major League Baseball and its Clubs have long been proud to support the Jackie Robinson Foundation, recognizing the Foundation’s important role in perpetuating Jackie’s legacy by advancing education. MLB’s expanded commitment reflects a shared desire to inspire and broaden opportunities for young people in our communities to truly reflect Jackie’s vision for our American society and positively impact future generations.”
“We are extremely grateful to Major League Baseball for its ongoing, very generous support of our mission to address the achievement gap in education,” said Della Britton Baeza, president and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. “This increased support from MLB and Commissioner Manfred for the Foundation’s scholarship program and to help bring the Jackie Robinson Museum to fruition provides a tremendous boost to our efforts. We are thrilled also about the Commissioner’s commitment to expand our programmatic partnership with MLB that involves both job opportunities and community service engagement for JRF Scholars, not to mention the benefits to the greater community of young people.”
Historically, Major League Baseball and its clubs have contributed more than $15 million to the Jackie Robinson Foundation for its scholarship program and for the Jackie Robinson Museum. The Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets and the New York Yankees organizations have been particularly generous to the Foundation, donating millions of dollars and partnering with JRF around various initiatives. Other Major League organizations that provide funding and engage with the Jackie Robinson Foundation are the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and the San Francisco Giants, as well as a roster of current and former MLB players, including Derek Jeter and the Turn 2 Foundation, which has endowed a scholarship in perpetuity at the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program
With support from donors such as Major League Baseball, the Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program provides four-years of financial assistance and direct program services annually to 225 highly motivated students attending 100 colleges and universities across the country, and has developed a mentoring curriculum to reach a broad cohort of college students beyond its core “JRF Scholars”. The Foundation’s unique program offers comprehensive support that includes internship and permanent job placement; curriculum and career guidance; one-on-one mentoring; and leadership and practical life skills training. The Jackie Robinson Foundation’s celebrated, hands-on approach has resulted in a consistent, nearly 100% graduation rate throughout its 43-year history.
The Jackie Robinson Museum
To be located in New York City, the Jackie Robinson Museum will chronicle the baseball legend’s storied athletic career as well as his defining, long-lasting impact across society through state-of-the-art exhibits, precious artifacts, film and other media. The Museum will host programming of all kinds, including symposia, lectures, concerts, and interactive online activities. More than a permanent tribute to Jackie Robinson’s pioneering baseball legacy and role in the Civil Rights Movement, the Museum will serve as an activity-oriented venue, a place for vibrant dialogue on critical social issues and a destination for innovative educational programming. The national Jackie Robinson Museum Legacy Campaign has raised $21 million towards a $24 million construction goal.
Jackie Robinson Day
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball by stepping onto Ebbets Field to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1997, Jackie Robinson’s number was retired across all of Major League Baseball, a first-time occurrence in a professional sports league. Since 2004, MLB has celebrated Jackie Robinson Day with great fanfare and with all players and on-field personnel wearing the number “42” during every game on April 15th. Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s widow, and members of the Robinson Family have attended every flagship Jackie Robinson Day celebration to-date.
About Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the most historic professional sports league in the United States and consists of 30 member clubs in the U.S. and Canada, representing the highest level of professional baseball. Major League Baseball is the best-attended sport in North America and, since 2004, MLB has enjoyed its best-attended seasons in the history of the game, with each regular season eclipsing the 73-million mark. Led by Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. since January 2015, MLB is experiencing record levels of labor peace, competitive balance and industry revenues, and features the most comprehensive drug-testing program in American professional sports. MLB remains committed to making an impact in the communities of the U.S., Canada and throughout the world, perpetuating the sport’s larger role in society and permeating every facet of baseball’s business, marketing and community relations endeavors. With the continued success of MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network, MLB continues to find innovative ways for its fans to enjoy America’s National Pastime and a truly global game. For more information on Major League Baseball, visit www.MLB.com.
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, more than twice the national average for African American college students. The 1,450 JRF alumni are proven leaders in their communities and across a broad range of professional fields –and true ambassadors of Jackie Robinson’s legacy of service and humanitarianism. JRF has disbursed over $65 million in grants and direct program support to students who have attended over 225 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 both on and off the field.