LA Dodgers Foundation CEO Is A Pillar Of Community
In 2019, the Los Angeles Dodgers named Nichol Whiteman as its CEO of Dodgers Foundation (LAFD), which connects the franchise to the community, after working as the LAFD’s executive director since 2013. She is one of the few African-American women in baseball to hold such a prominent title.
Whiteman has made significant progress since joining the foundation, and the Dodgers were recognized for its community work when the franchise was presented with the Sports Humanitarian team of the year award at the 2020 ESPYs. Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has assisted with education, health care, homelessness, and social justice, and donated hundreds of thousands of meals and monetary donations to help vulnerable communities during the pandemic.
“LADF (Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation) was built for this moment in time,” she told NBC Los Angeles. “The trauma of a pandemic and social justice events has exacerbated the significant disparities in our communities. We know that inequality can only be dismantled through proactive and strategic interventions, and we are starting with the root causes,” she added. “This award is a celebration of our organization’s accomplishments, but we are far from done. LADF will not waver. We will be part of the solution.”
Whiteman also headed up the creation of Dodgers RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities), which LAFD began in 2014. Through Dodgers RBI, a baseball and softball youth development program for Southern California communities, LAFD has supported 1,504 female athletes across 116 teams in 2019. Whiteman has made it clear that the program is bigger than baseball, and aims to increase sports participation as an engagement tool to increase access to education, literacy, health and wellness.
“We developed Dodgers RBI as a direct response to those particular challenges. Over the last six years, we can proudly say we’ve curated a program that gives kids an opportunity to participate in the sport but participate in the sport to gain social and emotional skills that we really believe can be derived from playing sports. The idea is that if we create adequate quality facilities, if we train coaches, if we give you the equipment, the uniforms and everything you need to play, and in addition to that we provide you with education resources, and health resources, we’re helping with engagement. We’re helping kids develop those key skills like teamwork, and they have an opportunity to thrive,” Whiteman said in an interview with Forbes.
Whiteman studied economics at Spelman College, a historically black all-women’s college in Atlanta, and had careers in Wall Street and publishing before beginning her philanthropic career as vice president of the western region of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which was fitting, considering the Jackie Robinson Foundation gave her a scholarship to attend college. Her experiences have profound impact on the communities she serves, and she wants to ensure others have the same access to baseball.
“I find myself to be an example of the potential possibilities,” Whiteman told the Los Angeles Times, “and outcomes of folks that come out of communities of color who are given a chance and given an opportunity and honestly given access.”
Whiteman lists a quote on her bio for her Twitter profile: “Each of us has the power to impact monumental change and make life better for those around us.”
Nichol Whiteman is living up to that and more.