The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) celebrated the completion of phase two of their Dreamfields complex, home of the Jackie Robinson Stadium, in Compton Saturday. A project that CEO of the charity, Nichol Whiteman, hopes will bring the sometimes neglected community together.
“Our vision is around giving every Angeleno an opportunity to thrive regardless of their zip code,” Whiteman told Los Angeles magazine. “It’s an opportunity to support a community who is often in the shadows, a community that sometimes gets forgotten frankly.”
The Dreamfields project aims to revitalize baseball and softball fields in underserved districts to form a stronger community amongst the people living in them.
“We’re building a sense of pride for individuals in their own neighborhoods,” Whiteman said.
Through a collaboration with FivePoint, the second phase of the multi-million dollar project included a solar power installation which powers park lights, a solar carport with public electric vehicle charging stations and rooftop photovoltaic arrays, which is projected to reduce up to 30,000 metric tons of GHG emissions and save the city $1 million in power costs.
“Not only is the project very much physically providing a safe space for youth and families to congregate, to play baseball, to participate in education activities, it’s also providing Compton with a significant level of savings because of the solar components that have been added to the park,” Whiteman said.
The project began back in 2019 when the city of Compton agreed to allow LADF to renovate the complex after “literally no one touched the location in years.”
“The Dodgers Foundation strongly believes park space shouldn’t sit idle, especially in communities where children and adults need it, so we joined the city of Compton and agreed to bring on-board a significant number of additional partners, corporations and foundations, to renovate the space, and on Saturday we unveiled phase two of a $3 million project that is focused on providing park space and more to youth and their families in the city of Compton,” Whiteman said.
“We designed the park to be a place that you’d not only use to actually play baseball and softball, but they’d also be intimately involved in what we call our outdoor STEM classroom,” she added. “The park will be utilized for programming. We have about 4000 youth in the city of Compton who will play on all three fields. It’ll also be a home where we will deliver education and health resources to go along with that.”
The unveiling of the Jackie Robinson Stadium occurred the day after the MLB celebrated the 75th anniversary of athlete breaking the color barrier. A celebration timeline Whiteman found “fitting.”
“I truly hope that he is looking down, smiling, and extremely proud of our work,” Whiteman said. “We celebrated Jackie Robinson Day in big fashion at Dodgers Stadium and to be standing on Jackie Robinson Stadium, in Compton, on the next day, was only fitting that we continued that celebration.”
Also in attendance was Dodger pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, whose foundation Kershaw Challenge partnered with LADF to build the fitness and training center for the kids of Los Angeles.
“That was a joy. When we unveiled the first phase of the project last Jackie Robinson day, we were extremely socially distanced, we were only able to invite our sponsors out, we were all wearing masks, it was in the midst of a surge so we weren’t able to do it in the format in which we would have liked, but Saturday was especially heartwarming because we had hundreds of kids out with their parents and their coaches, and to top it off with Clayton and [his wife] Ellen there with their four children, it made it really special for the community,” Whiteman said.
“So many people have reached out and said that meant the world to them and for their children,” she added. “It brings this newfound sense of hope and inspiration for our families and our kids after the past two rough years.”
If you’d like to get involved in the work LADF is completing in Compton and other inter cities, you can visit https://www.mlb.com/dodgers/community/foundation.
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