LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) announced a $100,000 grant from the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation to support three Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park in the City of Compton. The Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park is a $1.7 million-dollar project that will honor Jackie Robinson’s family and enhance efforts to revitalize baseball and softball play in the area among youth, as they grow and develop their skills throughout the years and advance from T-ball to high school and college athletics.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has a rich history of developing initiatives and programs to benefit their local community, and we could not be more excited to support them on this effort,” said Jean Batrus, Executive Director, MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation. “MLB continues to have a deep connection to the city of Compton, which houses the flagship MLB Youth Academy, and we are confident that these three Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park will further advance our mission to provide playing and learning opportunities to young boys and girls across the region.”
LADF is committing to one of its biggest Dodgers Dreamfield projects yet to further its mission to build and refurbish baseball and softball fields in underserved communities to promote a positive environment for youth to play. With a multi-million-dollar investment, the Dodgers Dreamfields renovation will continue LADF’s partnership with the City of Compton and provide safe park access to 28,000 local youth under 18 (29% of residents). Gonzales Park is set to be the future host of three Dodgers Dreamfields. Specfically, Field 42 will be designed for baseball and softball players ages 5-8, Rachel Robinson Field will be designed for baseball players ages 9-12 and softball players ages 9-18, and Jackie Robinson Stadium will be designed for baseball players ages 13+.
“This is such an important time to inspire our Black youth to play baseball and softball,” said Nichol Whiteman, LADF Chief Executive Officer. “We are grateful to partner with the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation to restore Gonzales Park to its former baseball glory where so much Black MLB caliber talent was nurtured. Together, we will provide safe havens and points of pride for underserved communities like Compton.”
The project will also include Fitness and Training Zones, named for Kershaw’s Challenge, complete with an outdoor training area, two enclosed batting cages and bullpens, an infield practice area and outdoor fitness equipment. The Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park will host LADF’s sports-based youth development program as well as Dodgers RBI leagues, will be the first set of fields to feature energy efficient capabilities and solar components, and will be the first Dodgers Dreamfields to infuse STEM and LADF’s Science of Baseball curriculum.
The MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation joins Dodger Dreamfields at Gonzales Park sponsors Kershaw’s Challenge, City of Compton, Security Benefit, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Water Buffalo Club, LA84 Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, and Leon Lowenstein Foundation.
The project launched earlier this year with a community groundbreaking event in February 2020 and a grand opening ceremony is planned for spring 2021. Construction has restarted this month after delays due to COVID-19 but project progress continues.
About the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation:
ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is bigger than baseball with ambitions to be the city’s premier charity. We envision a city where everyone regardless of zip code has the opportunity to thrive. We are tackling the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, health care, homelessness and social justice for all Angelenos. Since 1995, we have invested more than $30 million in programs and grants to nonprofits, and fundraising has increased by 1,000% since 2012. That growth has enabled us to do more.
About MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation:
The MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to fund efforts that enhance the quality of baseball and softball education, address overall youth participation, and help youth from underserved communities strengthen their connections to the game.