A GoFundMe campaign to replace a statue of Jackie Robinson stolen last week from a baseball complex in McAdams Park in Wichita, Kansas has raised over $185,000 in just five days.
The amount is more than double the $75,000 the statue was estimated to have originally cost when it was first erected in 2021 by the League 42 Foundation, a nonprofit introducing baseball to youths in Wichita.
The largest donations are reported to have come from Major League Baseball, according to foundation executive director Bob Lutz, and from an anonymous former MLB player, according to Wichita police chief Joe Sullivan.
The statue was discovered to be stolen last week with only the statue’s feet remaining. Then, on Tuesday, remnants of the statue were found burned when the local fire department responded to a trash can fire in a park seven miles away, the Associated Press reported. Police said the theft was caught on surveillance, but they have yet to apprehend a suspect.
In a statement, Lutz, said, “As law enforcement searches for the culprits of this crime, we remain devoted to our mission of providing low-cost baseball and education opportunities for our 600 kids, ages 5-14. They are as heartbroken over this theft as any of us and we are determined to replace the statue.”
Lutz added that donated funds leftover after replacing the statue would be used to improve various facilities and expand education initiatives, as well as better security, new lights, and artificial turf.
Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, famously wore 42—the only number retired by every baseball team—and played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues prior to joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson died in 1972.
The post “Online Fundraiser Raises $160,000 in Donations to Replace Stolen, Destroyed Jackie Robinson Statue” by Harrison Jacobs was published on 02/02/2024 by www.artnews.com