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Jackie Robinson Foundation hosts 'JAZZ on the Grass' benefit concert

Posted: August 24, 2009 6:11 p.m.
Updated: August 24, 2009 10:57 p.m.
 
LOS ANGELES -- The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF), a premier scholarship organization that supports deserving college students with financial need, will host the 4th Annual "JAZZ on the Grass" benefit concert (JAZZ) on Saturday, October 3 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Held at the private Sherman Oaks estate of noted director and producer Oz and Lynne Scott, JAZZ features three-time Grammy Award winner James Ingram and a list of nationally and internationally-renowned artists including multi-Grammy nominated recording artist Patrice Rushen, Grammy and Tony nominated singer/songwriter Brenda Russell, and world-class drummer and percussionist Ndugu.

"JAZZ on the Grass reflects the Foundation's mission to empower and uplift deserving college students," said Della Britton Baeza, President & CEO of JRF. "In today's challenging economic climate, students need financial and strategic support now more than ever. JAZZ allows us to enhance and expand the comprehensive resources that we provide to our bright Scholars."

Rooted in the Robinson legacy of promoting social causes through art, JAZZ on the Grass boasts four hours of live musical performances, wonderful cuisine, and a silent auction. Hosted again this year by Mistress of Ceremonies, Pat Prescott of 94.7 The WAVE, JAZZ raises funds for JRF to continue its all-encompassing commitment to young people, including the provision of financial support, mentoring, professional development, internship and job placement, and the imparting of practical life skills. With nearly a 100 percent graduation rate, JRF has earned the distinction as one of the nation's most effective scholarship organizations.

"It is with incredible honor and enthusiasm that we open our home in support of such a remarkable cause," said Event Chair Oz Scott who heads the JAZZ Host Committee, which includes Bill Cosby, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Salli Richardson, Dondre Whitfield, and Kenny Rankin (posthumously) to name a few. "The Jackie Robinson legacy is synonymous with advancement and empowerment. Lynne and I take extraordinary pride in our alignment with such an important organization."

Although new to the west coast, JAZZ on the Grass' historic roots span nearly five decades. Inspired by the March on Washington, Jackie and Rachel Robinson organized their first jazz concert at their home in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1963 to raise bail money for jailed civil rights activists including the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The high-profile concert attracted some of the most iconic names in jazz including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Dizzy Gillespie.

After Jackie Robinson's death in 1972, the concert became an east coast JRF fundraiser, eventually becoming a signature west coast event when the Foundation opened its Los Angeles home in 2005. West coast performers have included: Lalah Hathaway, Marcus Miller, Brian McKnight, Dave Koz, Jeffrey Osborne, Patti Austin, and George Duke.

"The tremendous talent that JAZZ on the Grass attracts reflects the artists' commitment to the Robinson legacy," said JAZZ on the Grass Musical Director Sylvester Rivers. "Year after year, this event has attracted some of the industry's most gifted performers."

JAZZ on the Grass also features the soaring musical talents of JRF Scholars, including saxophonists Anthony Diamond and Julian Clarkson, jazz percussionist Taylor Moore, and songstress Amanda Patterson. In addition to serving as ambassadors of Robinson's legacy, this academically gifted group will grace the stage and display the diverse talent of JRF scholarship recipients. Adding to the success of JAZZ on the Grass, the event draws elite corporate sponsors such as Ford Motor Company, American Airlines, CBS Corporation, Hennessy, New Era Cap Company, Broadway Federal Bank, ESPN Zone LA LIVE, UCLA, Anheuser-Busch, Nordstrom, City National Bank and Pepsi.

"Our alliance with major corporate supporters has contributed to the Foundation's nearly four decades of success," said JRF Associate Vice President Nichol Whiteman. "We applaud our sponsors for their incredible commitment to preparing a generation of leaders who will lead our nation into its next chapter of greatness."

About the Jackie Robinson Foundation
Founded in 1973 in honor of civil rights activist and baseball legend Jackie Robinson, JRF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and provides four-year college scholarships to minority students who demonstrate academic distinction, leadership capacity, and financial need. Transcending financial assistance, the Foundation equips its Scholars with a comprehensive set of support services including mentoring, career guidance and practical life skills helping them succeed in both undergraduate and graduate studies. In the 2008-2009 academic year, the Jackie Robinson Foundation supported 279 Scholars and Fellows attending 97 different colleges and universities across the United States including Harvard University, UCLA, Spelman College, and Howard University.

JAZZ on the Grass represents the Foundation's diverse fundraising strategy and continues to broaden its fan base. Tickets to this exclusive event are on sale until September 6th for the "Early Bird" price of $250.

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