Hank Aaron diversity fund starts with $2M in pledges from Atlanta Braves, MLB, players’ association

The Atlanta Braves plan to honor Hank Aaron during the upcoming season, with the first of those initiatives being a $1 million donation to establish the Henry Louis Aaron Fund, which will work to increase minority participation among players, managers, coaches and front-office personnel.

That was an issue Aaron took a keen interest in throughout his life. He often criticized the lack of Black managers and general managers in Major League Baseball. He fretted that fewer Black people were playing the game.

“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 statement. “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 Braves’ donation will be matched by $500,000 apiece from MLB and the players’ association.

“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,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “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.”

Aaron, whose 755 career home runs long stood as baseball’s all-time best, died last week from natural causes at the age of 86, and a memorial service in his honor was held Tuesday at Truist Park in Atlanta.

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