Jackie Robinson Foundation Celebrates 35th Anniversary

The Jackie Robinson Foundation will commemorate its 35th anniversary with a reception on April 30th hosted by Deloitte at its beautiful space on 350 South Grand Avenue. Guests will include basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, actor James Avery, Dodger greats Lou “Sweet Lou” Johnson, Al Downing and Tommy Davis, each of whom has a longstanding history of supporting the Foundation’s efforts. The Jackie Robinson Foundation was established in 1973 by Rachel Robinson, wife of the baseball and civil rights luminary, to perpetuate Jackie Robinson’s pioneering legacy and commitment to equal opportunity and excellence.

The Foundation provides four-year college scholarships, mentoring and leadership development training to academically gifted minority students with leadership capacity who would not otherwise be able to attend college. Guests will learn more about the scholarship program through the story of Danielle Benjamin-Arrington, a Gardena, California native who is completing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business and Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley.

Benjamin-Arrington graduated from Junipero Serra High School as captain of the basketball team and was a dedicated volunteer to the homeless community on Skid Row. She will describe the tremendous personal hurdles she has overcome en route to her dream of attending college and how the Foundation has helped her to succeed. At the prestigious Haas School of Business, Benjamin-Arrington has taken a keen interest in the accounting field. She is the immediate past president of the Berkeley Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, and is still currently active running the mentoring program for underprivileged girls in Richmond. She has complemented her studies by interning with Jackie Robinson Foundation sponsor Deloitte during each of her undergraduate summers and will work for the firm full-time beginning in the fall.

Since its inception in 1973, the Foundation has provided over 1,200 college scholarships and its students have maintained a remarkable 97% graduation rate — more than twice the national average for minority students. This enormous success results from the Foundation’s innovative approach to marrying financial assistance with hands-on, extensive mentoring and leadership training. This year there are currently 259 JRF scholarship recipients attending 93 of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities in 30 states.

JRF alumni continue to stay involved in the organization after graduation to mentor and support current students. Among its members, the dynamic JRF Alumni Association counts partners at noted Wall Street firms, several non-profit entrepreneurs, critically acclaimed musicians, and award-winning journalists, as well as skilled and committed doctors, lawyers, teachers and policy makers. Scholars and Alumni touch thousands of lives each year through their prodigious public service.

“Our 35th anniversary commemoration marks a true milestone for the Foundation, and is a tribute to our vast and loyal network of supporters who share our commitment to providing opportunity through education and shaping the leaders of tomorrow,” said JRF President & CEO Della Britton Baeza. Deloitte is one of nearly 50 corporations currently supporting Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars. Corporate partners make an investment that can advance their minority recruitment efforts as they collaborate with Foundation staff to tap Scholars for internships and career opportunities. Partners also access JRF’s resume database, which includes a significant number of the nearly 1,200 JRF Alumni who have benefited from the program.

The 35th anniversary reception also provides an opportunity for supporters to meet the organization’s executive team and learn more about the Foundation’s vision for the future.

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