DENVER – Earlier this week, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced a historic and significant financial commitment of up to $150 million to the Players Alliance, a nonprofit organization comprised of active and former Major League Players aiming to build more equitable systems in baseball and increase Black representation throughout the sport. The funding, which will be delivered over a 10-year period, will go toward a variety of programs built around participation in baseball, mentorship and professional baseball employee development. Additional support will include initiatives that celebrate Black baseball history and culture, educational grants, and service opportunities to communities.
Beginning in 2023, MLB will provide an annual $10 million, plus an additional $5 million in matching contributions from external Players Alliance fundraising. This represents the largest financial commitment in MLB history toward the specific goal of improving Black diversity in the sport on the field, in managerial & coaching positions, and front office leadership.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to expand our commitment to the Players Alliance, which will include joint efforts to strengthen our sport’s engagement with Black communities,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “We believe in the mission of the Players Alliance and have been inspired by the passion and perspectives of the players who are leading this effort. We know that our sport is at its best when it is accessible to everyone. Together, we will make this a reality with innovative and collaborative programs.”
“Major League Baseball’s commitment to support the Players Alliance is a monumental turning point in the history of our game, establishing a pathway to progress for equity and access for the Black community,” Curtis Granderson, President of the Players Alliance. “On behalf of our player members and allies, we’d like to thank Commissioner Manfred and all MLB Club owners for their unwavering support of our efforts to grow and diversify our sport, from the field to the front office, for generations to come.”
Specific details of the kinds of programs that this funding will support include:
• Programs aimed at increasing the participation of Black youth and young adults in baseball, including funding leagues, equipment, tournaments, clinics, playground activities and other similar efforts;
• Programs designed to attempt to increase the number of Black employees and contractors in all positions and at all levels associated with professional baseball, such as funding for education and training, counselling, internship programs, recruitment programs, and other programs designed to transition players from the field to accounting, managerial, coaching, front office positions and the general business of baseball;
• Programs to promote and support Jackie Robinson Day, appreciation days for the Negro Leagues, and other activities which celebrate and encourage Black participation in baseball and in the business of baseball;
• Player-led mentorship program determined and developed by the Players Alliance;
• Black cultural awareness, camps, and other programs designed to increase participation in the sport and eliminate barriers to such participation;
• Programs to support baseball in public schools and city schools; and
• Educational grants, scholarships and additional community services to the Black community.
Additionally, the Players Alliance will coordinate and collaborate with MLB and MLB Clubs on events, joint initiatives and programs, including MLB-led youth events and competitions, such as the Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), the MLB Draft Combine and MLB Youth Academies. The Players Alliance also will work with MLB on outreach to amateur and Minor League players and field staff about diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice training, education and awareness through a variety of events, including “Ahead In The Count” first-year player program as well as the “Prospects and Expectations” program at the Arizona Fall League.
This financial commitment follows the initial joint $10 million contribution between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in September 2020. MLB also donated $1 million worth of youth baseball equipment and personal protection equipment for the “Pull Up Neighbor” tour by The Players Alliance.