Since 1973, the Jackie Robinson Foundation has been funding college scholarships for minority kids in the name of the famous Hall of Fame infielder who forever shattered Major League Baseball’s color barrier.
On Tuesday, IMG joined that lofty pursuit. The global leader in athlete and event management will partner with the Foundation to pursue licensing, marketing and institutional campaign initiatives to aid in funding its scholastic work.
“We are thrilled to sign on with IMG to advance Rachel Robinson’s vision for this living legacy of her husband that for five decades has promoted education and supported tomorrow’s leaders,” said Della Britton, the Foundation’s longtime president. “IMG’s vision is to develop strategies to align the Foundation with socially conscious corporations and individuals who appreciate the impact that JRF has had and can have in communities across the country and in the workforce. We are excited indeed to work with [IMG Licensing Worldwide president] Bruno Maglione and the impressive team at IMG.”
Robinson’s widow founded the Foundation in her husband’s name in 1973, a year after his death from a heart attack tied to complications from uncontrolled diabetes. Robinson was 53 at the time. He played for 10 years for the Brooklyn Dodgers and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Rachel, who recently turned 98, has overseen the education of 1,700 students with a 98% collegiate graduation rate. According to the Foundation’s website, the organization has raised $95 million in grants and programs to underwrite educations at more than 260 colleges and universities.
“Each year JRF funds and mentors some 242 talented scholars of color who share Jackie Robinson’s strong social conscience, commitment to excellence and potential to break barriers to become the next generation of civic-minded leaders,” said Maglione. “We are honored to have this opportunity to contribute to Jackie Robinson’s legacy through the invaluable work of the JRF and we look forward to partnering with leading, like-minded companies that share the JRF’s goal of narrowing the achievement gap in higher education.”
Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs have long been a big contributor to the Foundation. As recently as this past August, the Miami Marlins, under the auspices of chief executive and Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter, donated $420,000 to the foundation in honor of Robinson’s famous No. 42, which is the only number retired throughout MLB.
Jeter, for years, was the only player to underwrite an annual scholarship, which is worth $30,000 for each scholar.
“Jackie was an inspiration for his work on and off the field, and his impact can be seen across South Florida and throughout the nation,” Jeter said. “We, along with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, are committed to ensure all youth in our community have equal opportunities in their pursuit of academic success. This significant contribution will provide future leaders from our local community with a deserving chance to enact change and inspire others.”