MIAMI -- Courage. Determination. Commitment. Persistence. Integrity. Justice. Teamwork. Citizenship. Excellence.
These were more than just words to the great Jackie Robinson. These were nine principles the Hall of Fame baseball player and civil rights activist lived by.
To help continue the work of this American icon, the Marlins and Miami Marlins Foundation on Friday announced a $420,000 donation to the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), which will award an annual scholarship in perpetuity to a deserving outstanding African American student from South Florida who demonstrates Jackie Robinson’s nine values.
"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," Marlins chief executive officer Derek 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."
Robinson's nine values also are something the Marlins' organization takes to heart.
With a focus on empowering South Florida youth, the Marlins are partnering with the Jackie Robinson Foundation to create an endowment, which will yield a $20,000 annual scholarship beginning in fall 2021 thanks to an additional $20,000 donation from the Marlins.
The contribution will support the JRF Scholarship program, designed to not only address the financial needs of minority students who aspire to attend college, but also guides them throughout their college careers with a robust mentoring and internship program.
"This endowed scholarship gives The Jackie Robinson Foundation a permanent connection to the Miami Marlins," said Sharon Robinson, vice chairperson of Jackie Robinson Foundation’s board of directors. "It is especially gratifying given Derek Jeter’s long-term support for JRF and the Robinson family. Now, more than ever, this kind of investment in education and equality is critical to our efforts to end systemic racism."
The Marlins have integrated Jackie Robinson’s legacy into the organization’s mission and principles, cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment for staff and the community at large. Each year, the Marlins recognize the Jackie Robinson Employee of the Year for the front office staff member that best exhibits Jackie’s nine values. In addition, the Marlins have hosted intimate conversations about the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson with members of 5000 Role Models, Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade and students from Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Last August, a beautification project was organized by the team to inspire students at Charles Drew K-8 Center in Liberty City with a Jackie Robinson-themed mural.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship program addresses the financial needs of college students and provides extensive, hands-on mentoring and support services. Once chosen, the scholar will receive a four-year grant to attend the undergraduate school of their choice and enroll in JRF’s celebrated "42 Strategies for Success Curriculum."
This program guides JRF Scholars to effectively navigate their college environments, explore career options, develop leadership skills and embrace a commitment to service. It also promotes the values and character traits embodied by Robinson, encouraging scholars to positively impact the lives of others.
"We could not be more grateful to Derek Jeter and the entire Miami Marlins organization for so generously supporting our efforts to close the achievement gap in higher education and the workplace," Jackie Robinson Foundation President and CEO Della Britton said. "JRF Scholars, who achieve, on average, a 98 percent graduation rate, go on to become leaders in the global workforce and in their communities, serving as stalwart ambassadors of the Robinson legacy."