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Robinson Foundation honors scholarship winners

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

NEW YORK -- What a night for the 25 scholarship students connected to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. A few hours after getting advice from employees of Major League Baseball, there was at gala thrown in the students' honor at Marriott Marquis on Monday night.

The gala was hosted by "Nightline" anchor Byron Pitts, while the musical guest was legend Dionne Warwick. Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson and founder of the foundation, was also in attendance. By the end of the night, the students were dancing the night away.

NEW YORK -- What a night for the 25 scholarship students connected to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. A few hours after getting advice from employees of Major League Baseball, there was at gala thrown in the students' honor at Marriott Marquis on Monday night.

The gala was hosted by "Nightline" anchor Byron Pitts, while the musical guest was legend Dionne Warwick. Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson and founder of the foundation, was also in attendance. By the end of the night, the students were dancing the night away.

The gala helped raise funds to support the Jackie Robinson Foundation's scholarship program as well as the Jackie Robinson Museum, which will open in 2019.

"The dinner will take [students] to the next level," said Sharon Robinson, who is the daughter of Jackie Robinson and vice chair of the foundation. "They will be milling about and dressed up. They have to lift up their game. It's all part of the networking."

The foundation was created by Rachel Robinson in 1973, a year after Jackie passed away. It provides educational and leadership opportunities for minority students. According to its website, the foundation has graduated over 1,500 alumni, maintained close to a 100 percent graduation rate and provided over $70 million in financial assistance and extensive support services.

During the gala, the foundation gave a lifetime achievement award to Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who is also a one of the foundation's directors. Ross has been part of the foundation for nearly three decades. Ross has contributed a lot to race relations. He created the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) to drive social progress through sports.

"[Ross] has developed a program that is geared towards anti-bullying," Sharon Robinson said. "It's a young program, but it has been quite successful."

The foundation surprised secretary Marty Edleman by naming an award after him. The first winner is Keith Bevans, a foundation alum in the 1990s. He received a special watch with Edleman's name on it. Bevans, who graduated from MIT (bachelor) and Harvard (MBA) is a partner at Bain & Company, a consulting firm in Chicago.

"The foundation has decided to keep it more of a living monument because Marty is so active and engaged around the world," Sharon Robinson said. "He is such a great person. So we are thrilled because he helped makes this foundation grow to the extent it has. We are honoring him tonight and going forward there will be an alum that is honored."

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.