On Sunday, June 1, New York Yankees Captain and shortstop, Derek Jeter, hosted the 18th Annual Turn 2 Foundation Dinner at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, raising more than $1 million for the organization’s youth initiatives.
Several of Derek’s teammates were on hand to support the cause, including Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alfonso Soriano, CC Sabathia, Brian Roberts, Yangervis Solarte, David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Kelly Johnson.
Hundreds of special guests, sponsors and other supporters were treated to a star-studded event – all for a great cause. Celebrities including Seth Meyers, Robin Thicke, Joe Torre, Tino Martinez, Sharon Robinson (daughter of Jackie Robinson), Heidi Watney, John Starks, Harry Carson, Soledad O’Brien, Harold Reynolds, Gerald Williams and Tom Cavanagh helped make the evening a memorable one.
“The Turn 2 Foundation Dinner is something I really look forward to all year, because it helps make so much of what we do possible,” said Derek Jeter, who created the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996. “The incredible outpouring of support we received will make a profound positive impact on the lives of the young people our programs serve, and we are truly appreciative of everyone who stood behind us.”
During the dinner, Turn 2 honored Deborah A. Tymon, senior vice president of marketing for the New York Yankees, with its 2014 MVP Award.
The organization also celebrated the 19 high school seniors who will graduate later this month from its Jeter’s Leaders program for their academic achievement and positive contributions to their communities. The Foundation’s signature initiative, Jeter’s Leaders, is a four-year program for high school students in New York City and Kalamazoo, Michigan, who serve as ambassadors for Derek in their communities.
The 19 graduating Jeter’s leaders – 10 from New York City and 9 from Kalamazoo –joined the program three years ago after a rigorous application process designed to identify individuals with strong leadership qualities. The ambassadors mentor younger members of their communities and strive to enact positive social change. Each graduate will be attending college this fall.
The Turn 2 Foundation’s mission is to help youth avoid drug and alcohol addiction and to reward those who show strong community leadership, high academic achievement and a commitment to living a healthier lifestyle.
Since its start, the foundation has awarded over $19 million in grants and has a strong presence in New York City, Kalamazoo and Tampa, Florida. Although Derek’s on-field career is coming to a close this season, the Turn 2 foundation will continue to have an impact in the communities it serves for years to come.
Growing up as a fan of the Yankees, Derek’s favorite player was Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, currently the Major League Baseball Players Association’s special advisor to the executive director. Derek was inspired not only by Winfield’s on-field performance, but also by the fact that the then-Yankees slugger was the first professional athlete to create his own non-profit organization, the Winfield Foundation.
The passion that Derek displays, and Dave displayed, on and off the field, serves as shining examples of how Major League baseball players are dedicated to improving the lives of their neighbors in need and to encouraging others to do the same.
The players, individually, through the causes close to their own hearts, and collectively, since 1996, through the Players Trust, are committed to giving back.
The Players Trust, the first foundation of its kind in professional sports – created and administered by the players themselves – supports a number of charitable efforts and programs important to all Major Leaguers. From its work in the Dominican Republic, a place where so many players call home, to its Action Team national youth volunteer program created in partnership with Volunteers of America, the philanthropic efforts of all Major Leaguers can be summed up in these three words: Care. Act. Inspire.
Those same three words can be used to describe The Captain’s approach to life on and off the field.
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Photo credits:: Red carpet photos courtesy Diane Bondareff. All other photos courtesy Eileen Barroso.