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MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation announces $500,000 grant to Negro Leagues Family Alliance

Grant will fund group’s efforts to preserve the legacy of Negro Leaguers and strengthen education and well-being through youth sports 

BIRMINGHAM, June 19 – The MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation today announced a $500,000 grant to benefit the Negro Leagues Family Alliance (NLFA). The grant will support the Alliance’s mission to preserve the legacy of the Negro Leagues and their players for future generations, while supporting initiatives around education and wellness as well as expanding youth baseball participation in underserved communities. 


“The Negro Leagues Family Alliance is truly honored to be the recipient of this generous grant from the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation,” said Sean Gibson, one of the NLFA’s founders and the great-grandson of Negro Leagues legend Josh Gibson. “The YDF’s goals strongly align with our organization’s mission to preserve the legacy of the Negro Leagues, and revitalize that legacy by educating the next generation of young athletes. We eagerly look forward to partnering with MLB and the MLBPA in this important work.” 


In addition to Gibson, NLFA founding members Brian Patterson, Loretta Hill, Lydia Teasley, Doug Foster, Bria Scudder and Dr. Harriett Kimbro-Hamilton accepted the grant on behalf of the Alliance at a Juneteenth celebration at the Southern Negro League Museum in Birmingham. This event was held a day prior to the MLB at Rickwood Field, A Tribute to the Negro Leagues between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals.  


The NLFA is composed of relatives of 10 Negro Leagues players: Bill Foster, Rube Foster, Josh Gibson, Pete Hill, Buck Leonard, Fran Matthews, Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, Norman Thomas “Turkey” Stearnes and Ron “Schoolboy” Teasley. More Negro League family members have been located and added to the Alliance since the organization’s launch last year. “We encourage any person with Negro League heritage to reach out to us, join the NLFA, and get involved with our movement and mission,” added Gibson.  


“Players in the Negro Leagues deserve to be recognized in a manner befitting their significant contributions on and off the field,’’ said MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark. “The Negro Leagues Family Alliance is doing valuable work in keeping that history alive. We are proud to support the NLFA’s efforts to educate and inspire future generations.’’ 


“MLB is proud to support the Negro Leagues Family Alliance with this grant through the joint Youth Development Foundation,” said Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “Their mission aligns perfectly with our sport’s existing efforts to educate fans about the rich history of the Negro Leagues and growing our sport among future generations. We will continue to work with the Alliance as they build on the momentum created by the integration of Negro Leagues statistics and MLB at Rickwood.” 


“Our foundation is committed to empowering the voices of Negro Leagues players and families, as well as supporting their vital efforts in both education and youth sports,” said YDF Executive Director Jean Lee Batrus. “We are dedicated to honoring the legacy of the Negro Leagues by driving positive change in both baseball and society. This grant signifies the beginning of a lasting partnership between YDF and the NLFA, and we are committed to working tirelessly to achieve this vision.”  


The NLFA will work closely with YDF to identify organizations connected to Negro Leagues families in pursuit of supporting efforts aligned with NLFA’s mission. This includes support of digital literacy, behavior health & wellness, and supporting the growth of youth baseball in underserved communities with organizations like the Nike Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. The NLFA will also continue to educate youth on the stories, struggles, and achievements of the Negro Leagues, advocate for permanent monuments to commemorate Negro Leagues players, and ensure that the estates and rights of Negro League families are protected.   


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