|Bragan Foundation to “Keep Swingin’!”|
Legacy of Fort Worth’s “Mr. Baseball” Will Carry On Through Scholarship Program
When local baseball legend and widely proclaimed “Mr. Baseball” Bobby Bragan passed away on January 21, 2010 at the age of 92, his place as the most colorful figure in Fort Worth’s baseball lore had long been assured. And, due to the planning of Bragan and the board of directors of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation (BBYF), his contribution to the youth of the Fort Worth-Dallas community will continue far into the future.
A long-time professional player, coach, manager, and executive, Bragan established a foundation for the purpose of providing college scholarship funds to deserving eighth graders in 1991. With seed money provided by Bragan and his late wife, Roberta Beckman Bragan, the foundation began by issuing four $2,500 scholarships in 1992. It has grown steadily over the last two decades through fundraising activities and the generosity of local businesses, foundations, and a wide array of Bragan’s friends and family across the country. Today, the foundation, through its perpetual endowment fund, awards 34 scholarships every school year. Since the inception of the foundation a total of 508 scholarships valued at $1,270,000 have been given to deserving metroplex students.
“Our endowment fund is in a position to continue the work of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation for many years to come,” stated Jim Beckman, stepson of Bobby Bragan and the original president of the foundation’s board of directors. “It is our hope that individuals, businesses, and foundations will continue to honor Bobby’s legacy, allowing our endowment fund to issue even more scholarships in Bobby’s name.”
The executive board of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation met immediately following Bragan's passing in order to assure a smooth transition of leadership. Bragan’s daughter, Cissie Bragan Walden, serves as Vice-Chair of the foundation, and local business leader, Doug Jennings, is the current board president; both will continue in their leadership roles. Janet Cooper will remain as executive director, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the foundation.
“We are looking forward to honoring Bobby’s desire that the good work of his foundation continues,” stated Jennings. “We want to make sure that the effects of the life of this great man are felt well into the future through the success of Bragan Foundation students and their contributions to society.”
Upon his retirement from an active role in the game of baseball, Bragan authored an autobiography entitled “YOU CAN’T HIT THE BALL WITH THE BAT ON YOUR SHOULDER,” and frequently signed notes and letters with the phrase “Keep Swingin’!”
It is the intent of the Board of Directors of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation to do just that. The BBYF scholarship committee is currently reviewing the 2009/2010 scholarship applications and preparing for the annual scholarship awards ceremony in April. The organization will continue to conduct the popular Lifetime Achievement Award Gala in Bragan’s name. Plans for this year’s event, set for Thursday, November 18th and honoring Texas philanthropist and businessman T. Boone Pickens, are already underway.
The BBYF office is located at 3116 West 6th Street, Suite 200, Fort Worth, TX 76107.
More details on the 2010 BBYF Gala and other foundation activities will be released soon.
The Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation motivates youth to become better scholars, citizens, and athletes, and to serve as leaders and role models for their peers.