The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) was founded in 1995 as the official charity of the L.A. Dodgers. The foundation uses their reach and fanbase to help the students in the greater Los Angeles area excel both in sports and in the classroom.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has numerous strategic partnerships in place to cover an array of education topics and sports. All of their partnerships align with their goal of preparing children to have success in both college and their futures.
Some of their partnerships include:
The foundation focuses on monitoring and supporting middle school and high school students to ensure that they complete their high school diploma. Nearly 60 percent of high school students in Los Angeles are at risk of dropping out. Students who do not complete their high school education earn approximately $1 million less than students who obtain their high school diploma.
The LADF partners with City Year by working with and supporting students at Clinton Middle School, Hollenbeck Middle School, John Liechty Middle School, John Muir Middle School and Virgil Middle School. The students in this program read 10 minutes at the beginning of class Monday through Thursday. The student that reads the most books is rewarded by getting to go onto the field during a Los Angeles Dodgers game. The goal of working with City Year is to promote literacy at these high schools and uses the LA Dodgers game as a reward for the students’ hard work.
2. Jackie Robinson Foundation
The partnership between the LA Dodgers and the Jackie Robinson Foundation focuses on giving students, of every race, college scholarships. The LADF also assists the Foundation in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day since he was once a Dodger himself.
The Library Foundation provides free programs, services and resources to over 50,000 adults and children in Los Angeles. One of their main focuses is to give students a place to go and continue learning during the summer months. The Library Foundation also gives kids under 18 delivered meals during their educational programs or camps.
4. Mayor’s Fund of Los Angeles
After a shooting at a Los Angeles park in 2007, former council member Eric Garcetti created Summer Night Lights (SNL). SNL gives community members a peaceful, healthy environment. The goal is to give children a safe and fun place to go away from unhealthy and unsafe conditions. LADF promotes SNL and worked with them to create a reading program at their park locations. Kids who complete the reading program are put in the running for free tickets to an upcoming Dodgers game, giving the kids incentive to continue their learning.
Spark Los Angeles promotes students graduating from high school and claiming their diploma. According to statistics from 2013, 7,000 LA students did not obtain their diploma. Of those students, 87 percent were near or below the poverty line and 86 percent were Hispanic or African American. Spark engages with students as young as 7th and 8th grade to make sure they stay engaged and on track to continue their education.
Every week, the LADF helps 300 students meet with their mentors. LADF also aided Spark in creating a new transportation model and helped to perfect Spark’s Discovery Night project fair. They now hold Discovery Night at Dodgers Stadium and help to engage thousands of children each year.
Vision to Learn (VTL) provides students in Los Angeles with the glasses they need in order to properly engage in the classroom. 95% of incoming first graders who need glasses do not have them. LADF partnered with VTL and now has two Dodgers vans that go to schools and community centers in the greater Los Angeles area to give kids vision tests and give them free glasses if they need them.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s three pillars are education and literacy, sports and recreation, and health and wellness. They use these guidelines in all of their efforts throughout the Los Angeles community.
Los Angeles has one of the lowest literacy rates in the country. Approximately 4 million people in Los Angeles have low literacy skills, which impacts the employability of these people. The LA Dodgers and LADF partnered up to create LA Reads. Aligned with their education and literacy pillar, LA Reads encourages and aids the youth of Los Angeles to improve their reading skills. By doing this at a young age, the kids will not only become proficient in reading and reading comprehension but also develop a love for reading they can take with them into adulthood.
LA Reads created a challenge called Dodgers Reading Champions. During the challenge students track how many minutes they read and receive incentive prizes for reaching different goals. According to the LADF website, 68 percent of parents said that their child was excited about reading because of the Dodgers Reading Champions.
Dodgers Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities (RBI) was created to increase youth participation in both baseball and softball. Dodgers RBI goes beyond the sport and uses it as a way to give students access to better education, a healthier lifestyle and resources they may not otherwise have access to.
The Foundations goals are:
1. To increase participation and interest in baseball and softball among under resourced youth with an emphasis on increasing participation amongst African American youth, girls, and youth ages 13-18.
2. To use the sport as an engagement tool in order to increase access to educational resources and increase positive attitudes toward educational opportunities among program participants.
3. To use the sport as an engagement tool in order to increase access to health resources and increase positive attitudes towards exercise and healthy habits among program participants.
4. To provide a safe and fun atmosphere for play while promoting positive character development among program participants.
In 2018, Dodgers RBI impacted over 10,000 children across 68 Los Angeles locations. A post season survey found that 68 percent of participants felt safer at their local park because of the program. Additionally, 73 percent felt they were receiving more social support than they were before.The program is part of an international Major League Baseball initiative that spans over 200 cities and has impacted hundreds of thousands of children across the country.
Dodgers Dreamfields builds and refurbishes baseball and softball fields in underserved communities such as: Central Los Angeles, Inglewood, South Los Angeles, Harbor City, San Fernando Valley, East Los Angeles, and La Puente. By doing this, they are giving children a clean and safe place to play in their neighborhood. The LADF believes that recreational sports have the ability to learn life lessons and build character and that is why they have invested over $10 million to Dodgers Dreamfields.
They also offer students baseball and softball clinics, fitness clinics, field maintenance clinics and community service projects.
Three times a year, the LADF distributes grants to education institutions or organizations in the Los Angeles area who fall within one of their three pillars: Education and Literacy, Sports and Recreation, and Heath and Wellness.
The LADF also offers event sponsorships that align with their foundations mission.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has positively impacted the lives of both the children and adults of Los Angeles. Through their partnerships and programs, they have given children the opportunity to excel in both sports and their education.
The LADF is hosting the Sport & STEM Alliance, a division of Beyond Sport, at Dodger Stadium next month. The Sport and STEM Alliance is a coalition of like-minded, leading global organizations who share a common goal of further understanding how sport can be used in STEM education, and then taking action to make this happen. STEM Sports, an Alliance member, will be present for the ESPN Leadership Dinner as well as the Beyond Innovation event in November.