Tyler Perry, Gerald Hassell and Don Thompson Honored at Jackie Robinson Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner

NEW YORK, NY (March 11, 2015) On Monday, March 9, 2015, The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) honored Chairman and CEO of BNY Mellon, Gerald L. Hassell, retired President and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation, Don Thompson, and filmmaker and philanthropist Tyler Perry at its black-tie Awards Dinner held at the Waldorf Astoria. In front of nearly 1,000 guests who attended the cocktail receptions, dinner and awards ceremony, each honoree was escorted to the stage by a JRF Scholar and recognized for embodying the humanitarian ideals of Jackie Robinson through devoting their lives to the promotion of social justice, excellence and human dignity. The gala raised $1.3 million for the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s unique scholarship program that provides financial grants in addition to mentoring and leadership training for minority college students, and for the Jackie Robinson Museum project. The evening kicked off with a rendition of “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?” performed by Ray Chew Live, and featured a performance of “It’s You,” “I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You,” and “Love Calls” by GRAMMY Award-nominated vocalist Kem. Hosted by actor Andre Holland (Selma), guests also listened to remarks from the three honorees, chairman of JRF, Gregg Gonsalves, president and CEO of JRF, Della Britton Baeza, and three JRF Scholars.

Don Thompson received the ROBIE Achievement in Industry Award, the Foundation’s highest tribute to an outstanding individual who has promoted and expanded access and opportunities in the corporate sector. Gerald L. Hassell, likewise, was honored for his commitment to ensuring opportunities to all constituent groups who make up the global workforce by receiving the ROBIE Achievement in Industry Award. Tyler Perry received the Foundation’s ROBIE Humanitarian Award, which is presented to an individual who has worked to promote equal opportunity, social justice and humanitarianism.

Sponsors of The Jackie Robinson Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner include BNY Mellon, Praxair, Inc., Major League Baseball, Omnicom Group, Inc., New Era Cap Co., Inc., Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, American Express, Ariel Investments, Citi, The Coca-Cola Company, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank AG, Martin L. Edelman, Esq., Ford Motor Company, GCM Grosvenor, GE, Guardian Life Insurance Company, McDonald’s Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Perella Weinberg Partners, Joseph J. Plumeri, New York Mets and Nike.

About the Jackie Robinson Foundation

Established in 1973 by Rachel Robinson to perpetuate the memory of her husband, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), a public, non-profit organization, administers one of the nation’s premier education and leadership development programs for minority students.  In addition to financial assistance, JRF offers a comprehensive set of support services including year-round mentoring, job placement, career guidance, leadership training and practical life skills. JRF’s celebrated four-year program results in a 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 — true ambassadors of Jackie Robinson’s legacy. Historically, JRF has provided over $65 million in grants and direct program support to students who have attended over 225 different colleges and universities across the country.   The Foundation is engaged currently in building the Jackie Robinson Museum to inspire and to educate visitors of all generations about Jackie Robinson’s courageous achievements both on and off the field.

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