Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bank of America Donates To Baseball Museum

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) announced today that the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has donated $300,000, one of the largest corporate contributions given to the museum in recent years. The donation will support a three-year national Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tour of the museum's acclaimed traveling Negro Leagues history exhibition, "Discover Greatness."

"As the official Bank of Major League Baseball, Bank of America is honored to provide thousands of people across the country the opportunity to learn, and hopefully gain a greater appreciation, of the contributions of African- Americans to the game of baseball and its impact on America," said Spence Heddens, Kansas City market president for Bank of America. "By teaming up with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, we're giving more people the chance to experience a compelling piece of history and reconnecting Historically Black Colleges and Universities to an era they played a major role in shaping."

"Discover Greatness" is a powerful and compelling examination of the Negro Leagues that brings the fascinating story of triumph over adversity to life. The exhibition features 90 black and white photos, pennants, jerseys and a video that chronicles the rise and fall of the Negro Leagues while celebrating the contributions of America's unsung baseball heroes to the game and the social advancement of our nation.

Cinematic portrayals depicted the Negro Leagues as a vaudeville act and its players as tramps and hobos. And, for nearly six decades, these talented baseball players were shut out of the Major Leagues because of their skin color and a pervasive perception that they weren't "smart enough" to play America's national pastime.

"We are thrilled to partner with Bank of America on this exciting and historic tour that we believe will open eyes and minds to one of the great chapters in American history," said Bob Kendrick, NLBM marketing director. "It is important that the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum reestablish the connection between the Negro Leagues and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We believe this tour will not only validate the caliber of athlete that played in the Negro Leagues but will educate and serve as a source of pride and inspiration for students attending those schools."

The partnership will also make the exhibition available to African-American Museums in collaboration with the NLBM to support audience development. In March, the exhibition was hosted by the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee in conjunction with the inaugural Civil Rights Game developed by Major League Baseball(R). For a complete schedule of tours and events, visit theNegro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Bank of America's willingness to step up to the plate and tell a compelling story of American sports history is commendable. All to often, museums have to compete for increasingly competitive government grants when a single corporate donation might suffice. This is one of many contributions Bank of America has made in its 10-year quest to give $1.5 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the quality and vitality of their neighborhoods.

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