Part of Hank Aaron’s legacy will be a fund that hopefully opens the door for more players like Hank Aaron.
Atlanta Braves chairman Terry McGuirk announced at Aaron’s memorial service on Tuesday that the team had seeded $1 million to form The Henry Louis Aaron Fund, which will be a component of the Atlanta Braves Foundation. MLB and the MLB Players Association have also kicked in $500,000 each, giving the fund a total of $2 million.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) January 26, 2021
“I know I speak for [MLBPA executive director] Tony Clark when I say this donation is a small symbol for the great respect that we both have for Hank Aaron and of our strong desire to continue the good work that he did throughout his life, particularly with encouraging minority participating in baseball,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Braves said the goal of the fund will be to “provide resources to drive equity by creating access and opportunities in the areas of sports, business, education and social and racial equality.”
Aaron died Friday, leaving behind a legacy of not only his considerable baseball achievements — the former (and some would say true) home run king, a member of the 3,000-hit club, still-standing records for total bases (6,856) and RBIs (2,297) in a career — but one of power and resolve amid the civil rights movement.
Aaron continued to champion opportunities for Black participation in MLB well into retirement, and McGuirk said this newly established fund is only the beginning of how the team plans to continue that fight, via the statement:
“We want to continue Hank’s amazing work in growing diversity within baseball now and in the years to come,” said McGuirk. “I believe this seed money is just the beginning for this growing fund and I’m certain other companies and organizations who have worked with Hank over the years will join us and add to this call to action to develop talent and increase the diversity on the field and in the front offices across the league.”
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