Sony donated a substantial donation in honor of Rachel Robinson’s 100th birthday, which she shared with the 92nd All-Star Game on Tuesday, to support the life’s work of Jackie Robinson’s widow.
More than $875,000 was donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation by San Diego Studio, the PlayStation Studios development team that creates MLB The Show, the only video game series featuring Major League Baseball. Rachel Robinson founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973, and it has since run one of the country’s top scholarship and professional development programmes for college students from underrepresented groups.
The sizable check was presented to Nichol Whiteman, CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and a JRF alumna herself, at PLAY BALL Park. Whiteman accepted it on behalf of the foundation. Ramone Russell is Sony Interactive’s communications and brand strategist for product development.
With the money, San Diego Studio established the JRF scholarships for young adults who want to work in the video game business. The company’s JRF scholars will participate in paid internships at their studio during the summer before their junior year, gaining practical experience that will help them succeed in the industry once they graduate.
This is a very special partnership, and these are the kinds of special, genuine partnerships that are so important for making sure that Black and Brown students have access to and the opportunities they require, said Whiteman. It is crucial to write checks, without a doubt, but if you can maintain a hands-on, ongoing partnership with extra hands and legs like this one does, I think that’s simply very special.
The funding came from Sony’s two-pronged strategy. First, the business offered collector’s editions of MLB The Show for the years 2021 and 22 and gave $1 for each copy sold to the JR Foundation. Then, on April 15, the day designated as Jackie Robinson Day, the studio produced a unique $5 JRD pack that included a Jackie Robinson Foundation bat skin, a Jackie Robinson card, and a Jackie Robinson profile icon in the game. All proceeds from this pack were given entirely to the JR Foundation.
Russell explained how the check came to be so large: “Our supporters let us know that they would like to contribute to this excellent effort,” he added. It was merely a method we devised for inviting our supporters to contribute to the JRF with us.
Following her tenure as a JRF scholar, Whiteman’s entry into philanthropy came in the form of a position as the vice president of the Western Region of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. She loves to claim that her community service work is how she “earned my doctorate degree.”
Whiteman credited the foundation’s networking opportunities and professional development for enabling her to achieve the heights in her career after having the experience of assisting the Robinson family in their mission. With Sony’s assistance, so many more people like her will now have access to that opportunity.
I am where I am today because of it, Whiteman acknowledged. “The same thing happened to hundreds of other students year after year after year in the same way that it did to me. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has, without a doubt, the highest college graduation percentage of any minority student scholarship in the nation.
“It’s a terrific way to keep his memory alive for The Show to effectively choose the Jackie Robinson Foundation and incorporate Jackie Robinson into the game physically in this way. It’s really priceless to tie that back to sponsoring scholarships for young individuals who might someday work in this business or for them.