Major League Baseball has announced that it is expanding its longtime support for the Jackie Robinson Foundation's JRF Scholarship program and will provide $1 million in support of the Jackie Robinson Museum project.
MLB will fund thirty scholarships — one for each MLB club — providing four years of tuition assistance and direct program services, including assistance with internships and permanent job placements, career guidance and one-on-one mentoring, and leadership and life-skills training. Established in 1973 by Robinson's widow, Rachel, the foundation has seen a nearly 100 percent graduation rate among recipients of scholarships awarded through its flagship program.
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American in the modern era to play in a Major League Baseball game. Each year on that date, every MLB player wears Robinson's uniform number, 42, which was retired throughout the league in 1997 by then-MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Robinson was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1962. Earlier this week, a new Ken Burns documentary on Robinson's life was aired on PBS.
"Jackie Robinson inspired change throughout the national pastime and society," said MLB commissioner Robert D. Manfred. "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."