Turn 2 Foundation hits 25, still going strong

October 7th, 2021

NEW YORK -- Marlins CEO and Baseball Hall of Famer made it clear on Wednesday night that he is looking for ways to improve the team on a daily basis. This past season, Miami finished fourth in the National League East with a 67-95 record.

“That’s why I got into this game, and it wasn’t to lose,” Jeter said.

But Jeter took a timeout from the game to attend the 25th annual Turn 2 Foundation dinner at Cipriani Wall Street. Jeter started the foundation after his rookie year in 1996. The Turn 2 Foundation has created and supported programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol, and have a healthy lifestyle.

Asked what he is most proud of regarding the foundation, Jeter said, “Consistency. We have been around for 25 years. It’s important to me that it continues to go on post playing career. They talk about what your legacy is. I think everyone wants to leave a legacy on the field, but when you have a chance to impact someone’s life in a positive matter like we have been able to do, it makes us all feel good.”

Jeter remembered how the idea of helping kids came about. He was eating pizza in a hotel with his father, Charles. The first event took place in Kalamazoo, Mich., Jeter’s hometown, and they raised $30,000.

“We were ecstatic,” Jeter said.

Twenty five years later, the entire family is involved in the foundation, including Jeter's mother, Dorothy; his wife, Hannah; and sister, Sharlee, who is now president. Overall, the foundation has raised $30 million and helped people in communities in West Michigan, New York and Florida.

“We’ve grown quite a bit. That’s from the support we have received from everyone that has come out here year in and year out,” Jeter said. “We missed last year [because of COVID], but I see a lot of the same faces, which is a good thing.

“We want kids to reach their potential. In order to reach their potential, you have to have a strong support group. We try to equip them with a strong supporting cast. When you get a chance to speak to them, you get a chance to sees how impressive they are.”

One kid who benefited from the Turn 2 Foundation is Kambell Fosness, who became a member of Jeter’s Leaders. She credits the foundation for helping her with her networking and social skills. Fosness is now attending Michigan State University. Fosness stepped out of her comfort zone and started making connections to people.

“I would say the foundation plays a big part in my development,” Fosness said. “I was so comfortable in my application process. The acceptance of going into college, it just seemed so comfortable. It seems like second nature to me because of the program and all they have done.”

So what’s next for the foundation? Sharlee Jeter said it will continue to help kids all over the United States.

“We will continue to run the programs that we have now. We are going to focus on our Jeter’s Leaders program,” Sharlee said. “We feel we are going to touch the lives of many people across the country. Who knows what the future is going to hold? Maybe expand to different areas or think of ways to continue expanding the work that we are doing.”