LOS ANGELES - In celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), in partnership with the City of Compton, Kershaw’s Challenge and the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation (MLB-MLBPA), today unveiled the Phase One completion of a multi-million-dollar Dodgers Dreamfields complex at Gonzales Park in Compton. Held on the 74th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier, the ribbon-cutting highlighted this year’s return to youth sports after the COVID-19 quarantine and emphasized the need for continued opportunities and places to play for Black and brown communities.
“The weight of a pandemic and calls for social justice magnify the importance of an already impactful Jackie Robinson Day,” said Nichol Whiteman, CEO of LADF. “In celebration of a legacy rooted in service, LADF has amplified its efforts to serve LA’s most vulnerable populations. With a history of dwindling resources and support, Compton deserves exceptional recreation spaces and comprehensive tools to thrive.”
“As we celebrate the legacy of Jackie Robinson, Kershaw’s Challenge is proud to partner with LADF to restore Gonzales Park to its baseball glory and create a welcoming environment for all ages,” said Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw. “What was once baseball heaven became a challenging place to play, making the sport inaccessible to kids in the neighborhood. With these hurdles in mind, Ellen and I are honored to help make a difference.”
Designed to support youth baseball and softball, from T-ball to college athletics, the Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park feature three fields with new playing surfaces, fencing, dugouts, irrigation upgrades, lighting, paint, and scoreboards. The project includes:
- Field 42- designed for baseball and softball players ages 5-8.
- Rachel Robinson Field- designed for baseball players ages 9-12 and softball players ages 9-18.
- Jackie Robinson Stadium- designed for baseball players ages 13+ and collegiate play, including new safety netting from Dodger Stadium and refurbished grandstand area with new railings, foundation and walkways.
- Kershaw’s Challenge Training and Fitness Zone, named for Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s charity, features two batting cages, two bullpens, a practice infield and outdoor fitness equipment.
- In partnership with Science of Sport and Edison International, LADF’s Science of Baseball outdoor classroom will introduce the science, math, and physics of the game to everyone that uses the facility.
“The upgrades to Gonzales Park will positively impact the Compton community, especially our youth, for years to come,” said Mayor Aja Brown. “We thank the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation for their commitment and investment to restore Jackie Robinson Stadium and we look forward to their continued partnership as we collectively invest in Compton youth and families.”
In addition to lead partners, the City of Compton and Kershaw’s Challenge, the construction is funded by generous donations from sponsors including MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, FivePoint, Security Benefit, Office of Supervisor Holly Mitchell, LA84 Foundation, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, LA2050, Edison International, Helen and Will Webster Foundation, Water Buffalo Club, Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Climate Resolve, and Science of Sport.
Since 2003, LADF has refurbished 51 Dodgers Dreamfields and invested over $10.6 million throughout the Greater Los Angeles area, providing 360,000 kids access to playable baseball and softball fields. In 2019, LADF partnered with the City of Compton to revive youth baseball and softball through its Dodgers RBI program. Dodgers RBI, local high schools with baseball and softball programs, as well as other sports-based leagues, such as C-BATS and ESI, will benefit from the new fields.
Gonzales Park, named after Ramon Gonzales, a local business owner who raised money to build ballfields, has been known for the large amount of Major League caliber talent that it nurtured, such as Eddie Murray, John Young, Hubie Brooks, Ozzie Smith, Eric Davis, Darryl Strawberry, Duke Snider, Kenny Landreaux, and more. Phase 2 of the project will be unveiled in the Fall of 2021 and include solar arrays, PV carports, EV charging stations, locker rooms, concession stands, press box, ADA paths, and restrooms.
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 $32 million in programs and grants to nonprofits, and fundraising has increased by 1,000% since 2012. That growth has enabled us to do more. Visit LADF online at www.dodgers.com/ladf, follow them on Twitter, @DodgersFdn, Instagram, @dodgersfoundation, and like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LosAngelesDodgersFoundation.