The Atlanta Braves launched a $2 million foundation to honor the late Hank Aaron’s passion for increasing diversity in baseball.
The Henry Louis Aaron Fund, operated by the Atlanta Braves Foundation, received initial seeding of $1 million from the Braves and $500,000 each from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.
“We want to continue Hank’s amazing work in growing diversity within baseball now and in the years to come,” Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said in a news release Wednesday. “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.”
The team said the fund’s mission is to boost social and racial equality by providing greater access and opportunities in sports, business, and education.
“Henry Aaron was a Hall of Fame player, a front office executive, a mentor, a colleague, and a friend. In each of these roles, he was a tireless advocate for better representation of people of color throughout our sport,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in the release. “As a philanthropist and businessman, this celebrated power hitter was most passionate about empowering others. We are proud to honor his legacy through this joint donation to the Henry Louis Aaron Fund, and commit ourselves to continue building toward greater diversity and representation in the game Hank loved dearly.”
Added Tony Clark, MLPBA executive director: “Hank Aaron was a pioneer for social justice, civil rights and the fight against racism who knew firsthand the importance of ensuring the game he loved was accessible to all. We share Hank’s values and commitment.”
Aaron died on Jan. 22 at the age of 86.
The 25-time All-Star and longtime home run king is the all-time leader in RBIs (2,297), extra-base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856), and ranks second in homers (755), third in hits (3,771), and fourth in runs scored (2,174).