SOURCE: Jackie Robinson Foundation

February 13, 2007 12:15 ET

The Jackie Robinson Foundation Set to Honor Sheila Johnson, Spike Lee and Stan O'Neal at Annual Awards Dinner

March 5, 2007 Event at Waldorf=Astoria Will Commemorate 60th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson Breaking Baseball's Color Barrier Presented by Ford Motor Company

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 13, 2007 -- Nearly 60 years ago, Jackie Robinson stepped up to the plate and courageously broke the color barrier in baseball. His heroics began in the confines of the baseball diamond but had far-reaching reverberations on American society. More than an extraordinary athlete, Jackie was a crusader for equal opportunity and a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement.

As it approaches the 60th anniversary of one of the most significant moments in both baseball and American history, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) will pay tribute to three pioneering individuals whose commitment to social progress and excellence embody the spirit of Jackie Robinson. Stan O'Neal, Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch and a leader in the world of financial services and corporate philanthropy; Sheila C. Johnson, pioneering businesswomen and ardent philanthropist, President and CEO of Salamander Hospitality and President of the WNBA Washington Mystics and Spike Lee, world renowned film director, will be honored at the Jackie Robinson Foundation Annual Awards Dinner on Monday, March 5, 2007 at The Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, presented by Ford Motor Company. Entertainer Bill Cosby will again host the event, considered one of the most highly anticipated on the New York social calendar. O'Neal is slated to receive the ROBIE Award for Achievement in Industry; Johnson will be presented with the Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award; and Lee will receive the ROBIE Award for Humanitarianism.

Established in 1973, the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is one of the nation's premier education and leadership development programs. It provides four-year college scholarships to minority students who demonstrate academic achievement, leadership capacity and financial need. Transcending financial assistance, the Foundation equips its scholarship recipients with a comprehensive set of support services including mentoring, career guidance and practical life skills, resulting in a 97% graduation rate, more than twice the national average for minority students. The more than 1,100 JRF alumni are both leaders in their professional fields and consummate ambassadors of Jackie's legacy of community service. This academic year (2006-2007), JRF is providing more than $1.8 million in scholarship support to 266 Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars representing 33 states. Enrolled in 93 different institutions, Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars attend some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the United States.

"Each of our honorees," said Della Britton Baeza, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, "has cultivated pathways to opportunities for future generations. They have truly lived by Jackie's guiding tenet that, 'A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.'"

For more information about the Foundation or to purchase tickets, please visit or call (212) 290-8600.

Contact Information

  • Contacts:

    Bernadette Weeks
    (212) 290-8600, x29

    Gary Schueller
    (212) 290-8600, x30