NYCFC and the Jackie Robinson Foundation announce partnership to support Black Lives Matter

The logo for the NYCFC/JRF partnership.
Courtesy of NYCFC

In the wake of the racial tensions throughout the country, New York City Football Club (NYCFC), is teaming up with an organization to strengthen its roots in the community.

On Aug. 18, NYCFC and the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) announced a multi-year partnership to take action in support of Black Lives Matter initiatives focused in and around the five boroughs. NYCFC plays its home games at Yankee Stadium.

Headquartered in New York City, JRF was established in 1973 by Rachel Robinson to honor the legacy of her husband, Jackie Robinson, by addressing the persistent and unacceptable achievement gap in higher education.

“This partnership will continue to grow and expand creatively over the years with the aim of ensuring that Jackie Robinson’s commitment to equal opportunity and humanitarianism will be carried forward in the lives of our players, fans, staff and partners using the power of soccer,” said Brad Sims, CEO of NYCFC. “We are tremendously proud to be the soccer team of New York City – and as such, we will focus our efforts in and around the five boroughs to have an even more meaningful impact on the local communities we are honored to represent.”

As part of this civic engagement partnership, NYCFC will be supporting JRF with a multi-year grant to sponsor a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar who will be selected in the spring of 2021 as part of the class of 2025. The grant will provide the JRF/NYCFC Scholar with a four-year college scholarship and participation in JRF’s celebrated, year-round mentoring and leadership development program.

Additionally, NYCFC will use the club’s platforms, games and other events to bring awareness to the foundation’s work. In turn, the Jackie Robinson Museum, currently under construction in Manhattan, will provide another venue for joint educational programming and other activities to bolster the partnership.

“It doesn’t get much more reputable than the Jackie Robinson Foundation,” Sims said to the Bronx Times. “We expect this to be a long standing partnership. This is something that’s extremely important to us as a club.”

In June, NYCFC announced a series of internal and external commitments to advance Black Lives Matter causes. Through this partnership, JRF will support several of these club commitments using its experience to help NYCFC make an even bigger impact in the community. Initial partnership activity around the club’s commitments includes:

  • Access and Education – Engage staff around training and educational programming. Collaboratively develop a strategy to diversify the pool of applicants for the club’s internship recruitment process.
  • Engage and Support –Create widespread staff volunteering and mentoring opportunities to further amplify the partnership work.
  • Celebrate and Amplify –Involve JRF and its scholars into annual club events designed to celebrate, support and amplify the Black Lives Matter movement, including an annual Black Lives heritage home game.

The NYCFC players, who have been playing an active role growing awareness around the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, will also be a key part of this partnership through ambassador programming and training and education.

“I was privileged to work with Jackie Robinson in his career as a courageous civil rights leader as well as business leader, focused on promoting opportunity for Black Americans,” said Marty Edelman, vice chairman of NYCFC and founding board member of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. “It has been an honor to work with Rachel Robinson, an iconic leader of improving educational opportunities for young Black Americans, to create the Jackie Robinson Foundation. To be part of the opportunity to join NYCFC and JRF in the campaign against racism follows in that tradition.”

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