The Yawkey Sports Gallery was made possible by a generous grant from the Yawkey Foundation, founded in 1976 upon the death of Tom Yawkey, owner of the Red Sox ball club for over four decades.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) has enjoyed a long relationship with the Yawkey Foundation, beginning in 1988 when Tom’s widow, Jean Yawkey, and the Yawkey Foundation sponsored the Boston leg of the Jackie Robinson Foundation’s national touring exhibit honoring Jackie Robinson. When Rachel Robinson and Jean Yawkey met at the Boston exhibit, an inspiring conversation between them led to the Yawkey Foundation’s decades-long engagement with JRF, which included the first major gift to the Jackie Robinson Museum campaign in 2006.
The Yawkey Foundation had engaged further with JRF in 1988 when Jean Yawkey recruited for the team’s front office a talented JRF Scholar alumna with an interest in the business of baseball to serve as the Red Sox associate counsel. More than 30 years later, that former JRF Scholar, Elaine Weddington Steward, is among the longest tenured members of the Red Sox front office and serves as the team’s vice president and club counsel. Since then, the Yawkey Foundation has continuously invested in the success of generations of JRF Scholars by funding JRF scholarships, which provide generous tuition grants, comprehensive mentoring, and internship and job placement.
The relationship ignited by Rachel Robinson and Jean Yawkey more than three decades ago established a legacy of mission-related collaboration between the Yawkey Foundation and JRF, based on a shared commitment to increasing access to education, career mobility and leadership development for young adults.
For more on the history of the Yawkey Foundation, its philanthropic purpose, and its founders, visit www.yawkeyfoundation.org