30 Major League Baseball teams help League 42 fund new Jackie Robinson statue
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE)- Less than a week after the Jackie Robinson statue was stolen from League 42, the GoFundMe to build an identical statue using the original mold has raised more than $149 thousand.
The original goal for that GoFundMe was $100 thousand but that goal post has moved to $175,000, so the organization can grow despite the unfortunate setback caused by the burning and dismantling of the Jackie Robinson statue.
“That statue means everything to League 42,” said Bob Lutz, executive director of League 42.
This past week has been the busiest week of Lutz’s career.
“This is so much more than just Wichita, it's been a national outpouring,” he said.
The Jackie Robinson statue that once stood tall at League 42 was stolen, burned, and dismantled but it is clear the community has not forgotten it.
“We like to think people appreciate our mission, which is to help kids and do what we can, but so much of this is about the impact of Jackie Robinson,” said Lutz.
League 42 has received more than 200 emails each day since the theft of their Jackie Robinson statue last Thursday. Major League Baseball, Players Alliance, the Dodgers, Royals, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation have all reached out to Lutz to show their support.
Lutz announced this evening on Twitter, 30 Major League Baseball teams have committed to helping fund the new statue and provide other support to League 42.
“There’s no need in wasting energy on the negativity here. This is about picking ourselves up, moving forward, and being better than ever,” said Lutz.
The GoFundMe continues to grow in donations, surpassing the original goal of $100 thousand necessary for the replacement of the statue. The rest of the money raised will go toward facility needs, baseball stadium renovations, and added security for the next statue.
“We’re not just going to put the statue back, we’re going to accompany that with some other additions that we believe will make this an absolute Wichita destination point,” said Lutz.
There will also be security cameras added, more lighting, and landscaping changes to ensure another theft does not happen.
Jackie Robinson was born 105 years ago today and his memory lives on at League 42.
“I hope somewhere he’s aware of what’s happening here and that he shares our hope for goodness to come out of this,” said Lutz.
To donate to the GoFundMe click here.