A New Collaborative Partnership to Reinvigorate Representation of Black Americans in Baseball, From the Youth Level to the Front Office
NEW YORK, N.Y. – In a partnership with The Players Alliance, a nonprofit organization comprised of active and former Major League Players, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have committed $10 million to help fund innovative programs designed by The Players Alliance to improve representation of Black Americans in all levels of baseball. These efforts are intended to improve access to the sport, both externally in the Black community, inclusive of youth participation, and in front office career opportunities.
The Players Alliance will earmark the joint grants, which will be delivered annually through 2024, for programs with the following missions:
Offer Player-led mentorship;
Increase participation in baseball among Black youth and young adults through efforts that include funding individual leagues, equipment donations, special tournaments, clinics, and playground activities;
Support Black cultural education, camps, and other programs designed to build pipelines and eliminate barriers to the sport;
Increase Black business partnerships as well as employment at all levels of professional baseball by funding education, training, counseling, and internship and recruitment programs;
Support baseball programs in public schools and community centers; and
Provide grants, scholarships and community services to various segments of the Black community.
Additionally, The Players Alliance will support MLB and MLBPA programs that are aligned to its mission.
“As the stark racial minority in all aspects of our game, The Players Alliance has given a voice and platform to our Black players, unified in our stance against systemic racism,” said Curtis Granderson, former MLB player and President of The Players Alliance. “We stand together for what is right and to change our game for the better. The power of our player membership, including our non-Black teammates, coupled with the support of MLB and the Players Association, gives us the unique ability to create increased opportunities for the Black communities we care so much about.”
“Major League Baseball is committed to enacting positive changes within our sport to mirror those we hope to see in society,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “We believe that the efforts led by The Players Alliance will complement existing diversity initiatives and accelerate progress that will be beneficial for our game.”
“Recent events and social unrest have profoundly crystallized the need for prescriptive programs and additional education designed to enhance Black participation at all levels of baseball for the betterment of our game as well as society,” MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark said. “We look forward to working with The Players Alliance and MLB to make lasting changes and to have a substantive impact in this important area.”
The Players Alliance is a group of more than 100 active and former professional players united to use their voice and platform to create new opportunities for the Black community in all areas of baseball and society. The organization’s mission is to create an inclusive culture within baseball and the community, where differences are leveraged to elevate racial equality. In addition to MLB and MLBPA, the group is supported by their non-Black teammates via the newly formed Allies of the Alliance, a committee of professional baseball players of any race or origin that wish to support the organization’s mission.
Since launching in June, The Players Alliance has initiated a series of programs and campaigns, including:
Baseball Mentorship Program: A player-led initiative to build and nurture mentoring relationships within the Black community. The inaugural class includes the Black players selected in the 2020 MLB Draft, as well as a dynamic group of Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars.
Gear For Good: A national player-led equipment drive and implementation program in which players donate baseball equipment to Black community groups in-need across the country.
Alliance Access Program: A scholarship, paid internship, and student employment initiative providing resources, education and advancement opportunities for the Black community.
In addition to supporting The Players Alliance, the League and Players Association, through the MLB- MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, fund the Hank Aaron Invitational, a diversity-focused development experience that has seen 94% of its alumni who have graduated high school go on to play at the professional and college baseball levels. MLB has also led a variety of diversity initiatives aimed at improving representations at various levels. To learn more: MLB.com/diversity-and-inclusion.
To learn more about The Players Alliance, and to view the full roster of active and former player members, visit ThePlayersAlliance.com.