Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced the Tiger Woods Foundation, Jays Care Foundation and Harlem RBI as 10th anniversary winners of the 2014 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy. The three winners will be honored at a September 18, 2014 ceremony at RWJF in Princeton, N.J. With the two baseball-related winners in Jays Care Foundation and Harlem RBI, no other sport has received more Patterson Awards than baseball.
This is the 10th anniversary of the Patterson Award, which was established in 2005 by the RWJF in honor of the late Steve Patterson, the former UCLA basketball star, NBA player and Arizona State basketball coach. Patterson’s belief in the practice of using the power of sports philanthropy to make a difference in various communities inspired the creation of this award.
“We are honored to celebrate three outstanding organizations—Jays Care, the Tiger Woods Foundation and Harlem RBI. Each is giving back to their communities and inspiring others to build a Culture of Health,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Jays Care Foundation - Professional Sports Team Foundations and Community Relations Departments Category Winner
The Jays Care Foundation is the charitable arm of Canada’s only MLB team, the Toronto Blue Jays. Established in 1992, the foundation has grown exponentially from a regional focus in Toronto to investing in children and communities from coast-to-coast. Their mission is to create equal opportunities for kids in need across Canada by removing barriers to sport and education. Foundation programs such as Field of Dreams and Grand Slam Grant provide funds to children and their communities to learn and play in a safe environment as well lead happy and healthy lives. Other foundation programs include Rookie League, Home Run Scholars and Jays Care Community Clubhouse.
“The Toronto Blue Jays are honored to be recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an organization that truly understands the power of sport,” Stephen Brooks, Senior Vice President of Business Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, said. “As Canada’s only MLB team, the Blue Jays, through Jays Care Foundation, have made a lasting commitment to invest in Canadian children and communities from coast to coast. We are devoted to breaking barriers to sport and education and to building safe, dedicated spaces for recreational and educational youth programming in communities across Canada. The Blue Jays are delighted to be named as a recipient of the Steve Patterson Award for our work in communities throughout Canada and proud to be listed beside recipients of the past.”
Harlem RBI - Professional Sports Leagues, Player Associations and Sports Philanthropy Organizations Category Winner
Harlem RBI’s goal is to provide inner-city youth with opportunities to play, learn and grow. They use the influence of teams to impact and inspire children to recognize their potential and realize their dreams. Harlem RBI has grown to aid more than 1,500 boys and girls annually since its founding in 1991. The program provides youth with year-round sports, educational and enrichment activities. Youth are first exposed to Harlem RBI through its summer baseball program. Program components include Rookie League, REAL Kids, TeamBuilders, TeamWorks, Legends and Social Work. When they graduate from the program, Harlem RBI youth are expected to be resilient young adults and embody DreamList attributes, which include being physically healthy, high school graduates, college graduates, work-ready, teammates and more. Since 2005, 97 percent of Harlem RBI seniors have graduated high school and 94 percent have matriculated at college.
“After serving the East Harlem community for 23 years, winning the Steve Patterson Award is a great honor,” Rich Berlin, Executive Director of Harlem RBI, said. “Steve Patterson's legacy is one of love, service and excellence and we are proud to now be a part of that legacy. Not only does this award recognize the commitment and dedication of our staff, but it also elevates our name in the larger philanthropic world to allow us to do even more. With the Steve Patterson Award, Harlem RBI will further invest in our communities so that more kids can play, learn and grow."
The Tiger Woods Foundation - Individual Athletes and Professional Coaches Category Winner
Founded by Tiger Woods and his father, Earl, the Tiger Woods Foundation has affected millions of students by providing advanced educational opportunities with a focus on STEM education. Of the foundation’s numerous initiatives, one of its flagship programs, the Tiger Woods Learning Center, provides scholars in grades 5-12 with college-access programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math. Interactive classes allow these students to identify the importance of attending college and exploring potential careers. Through the Earl Woods Scholarship Program, students receive a $5,000 scholarship, which is renewable for up to four years, as well as a dedicated mentor. Specialized internships are available to students in the program, which help prepare them for life after college. Since 2005, the foundation has distributed more than $80 million and an astounding 100 percent of Earl Woods scholars have graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
“It is an honor for the foundation to receive the Steve Patterson Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We believe we can break the cycle of poverty through education and receiving this award helps us spread our mission even further,” Tiger Woods, founder of the Tiger Woods Foundation, said. “I’m so proud of our staff and supporters, and we look forward to making a difference in the lives of so many students and their families to come.”
“It is an honor and privilege to present the Steve Patterson award to the 2014 winners for the positive impact they have in their communities,” said Carlette Patterson, Steve’s widow and president of Patterson Sports Ventures. “There are many worthy peers, but these organizations in particular portray the qualities and core values that were so dear to Steve’s heart. This year’s winners inspire our youth to live healthy lives and reach for their dreams. Congratulations to Jays Care, the Tiger Woods Foundation and Harlem RBI and thank you for all that you do.”
Previous Patterson Award Winners
ABOUT THE STEVE PATTERSON AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN SPORTS PHILANTHROPY
The Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy is presented annually by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The award acknowledges sports organizations and individual sports philanthropies that have demonstrated excellence, leadership, and a sustained commitment toward a mission that serves and improves the lives of others.