Strada Education Network, formerly USA Funds, tonight announced a $6.5 million grant to the Jackie Robinson Foundation to support its mission of education and leadership development. The grant is the largest single donation to JRF since its founding by Rachel Robinson in 1973, the year after the death of her husband, sports and social justice icon Jackie Robinson. The grant will fund 30 JRF
Scholars, allow the Foundation to launch a substantial expansion of its celebrated college success program, and cap off the fundraising goal for the construction of the Jackie Robinson Museum, which will host educational programs for people of all ages.
The grant was announced onstage tonight during the Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner by William D. Hansen, president and CEO of Strada Education Network, Della Britton Baeza, president and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and JRF board member Ziad Ojakli.
"We are honored to support this three-pronged initiative to perpetuate Jackie Robinson's legacy of promoting equal opportunity in education," Hansen said. "Highly motivated, low-income and first-generation students of color will benefit from scholarships and support to help them navigate a path through college to fulfilling careers and leadership roles in their communities. The Museum will also be a center for advancing the social justice issues, including the achievement gap in higher education, that Jackie and Rachel Robinson so courageously addressed."
Britton stated, "The Jackie Robinson Foundation is extremely grateful for Strada Education Network's generosity and very excited about this partnership, given Strada Education's impressive record of support for postsecondary education and the successful transition from college to the workplace. I am confident that this partnership will inform the national dialogue on closing the achievement gap in higher education. We also welcome Strada Education's participation in development of the Jackie Robinson Museum's educational programs."
With Strada Education's support, JRF will increase its impact by enlarging the current cohort of 240 JRF Scholars, launching a program expansion that will reach thousands of students of color across the country within three years, and educating and inspiring visitors from all walks of life to the new Jackie Robinson Museum, the groundbreaking for which is being scheduled for Spring 2017.