The Sports Equality Foundation today announced the awarding of grants to LGBT applicants to attend Major League Baseball's Diversity Business Summit in Phoenix, Ariz., March 8-9. The grant will provide much-needed financial travel assistance to young out LGBT applicants, some in college, who seek internships or jobs with Major League Baseball team front offices.
"We believe that out LGBT people in sports are the most powerful agents of change we have today," said Sports Equality Foundation board member Kirk Walker, himself an out softball coach at UCLA. "By being out and doing their jobs, they create a space for countless others to do the same. This grant clearly demonstrates the Foundation's mission and strategy for change."
GLAAD has also previously committed to helping cover some travel costs of select LGBT applicants.
MLB recruiting gay executives
Major League Baseball is targeting LGBT students and young professionals for careers with team front offices. Two current gay MLB executives talk publicly for the first time about the support from their teams, the Nationals and Orioles.
The grant is the first since the Sports Equality Foundation announced its forming last month, identifying coming out and being out in sports - whether as an athlete, coach, executive or member of the sports media - as the primary tool to advance change. The grant-making foundation has identified four core areas of work that affect the cyclical process of coming out in sports: 1) providing LGBT people needed resources as they prepare to come out; 2) coming out publicly or privately through the sharing of their truth; 3) becoming a role model for other LGBT people; and 4) leading cultural progress.
"Major League Baseball is determined to reach out to the LGBT community and show that our doors are open to anyone who has great determination and the desire to pursue a business career in baseball," said Billy Bean, Major League Baseball vice-president, social responsibility and inclusion. "The Sports Equality Foundation is literally changing lives by making it possible for well-deserving young professionals to attend."
Currently six MLB teams have publicly out LGBT employees: Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, and World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
Registration for the MLB Diversity Business Summit is still open. Out LGBT applicants seeking travel assistance should contact Kirk Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Sports Equality Foundation, visit www.sportsequalityfoundation.com or follow the organization on Facebook or Twitter. If you are an LGBT student-athlete and would like to join the Sports Equality Foundation's student-athlete advisory board, you can fill out this application form. Cyd Zeigler is on the foundation's board of directors.