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Founding Chairwoman - Vi Ripken 1938-2021

Vi Ripken passed away on February 26, 2021, just a day before her 83rd birthday. Born in Havre de Grace, MD she was the wife of the late Cal Ripken, Sr. who died in 1999, and is survived by her four children: Elly, Cal, Jr., Fred, and Billy as well as eight grandchildren and one great grandson. As founding chairwoman of the Ripken Foundation and charter member of the Harford County Boys & Girls Clubs, Vi was a well-respected and loved advocate for children. She was always a steady reminder about the mission of the Foundation and why we work so hard to impact the lives of kids who need it the most. As we move forward, we will do so with Vi constantly in our thoughts.

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robbie callaway

2021 Foundation Spotlight: Robbie Callaway

This week, we would like to spotlight past Board chairman, current Board member, and longtime advocate of the Foundation, Robbie Callaway. Robbie’s enthusiasm and passion for at-risk youth has propelled the Ripken Foundation and many other youth-serving organizations across the country to success over the last 35 years. We are so honored to be celebrating our 20th anniversary with Robbie on our team.

It was during his 24-year career with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that Robbie met Cal, Sr. and Vi Ripken. In 1991, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County,  “Cal, Sr. took me on a grand tour of the Aberdeen Boys & Girls Club. He was so proud of what Vi and Billy had done,” recalled Robbie. As they walked through the Club that day, “Cal, Sr. took me in the storage closest and, he said, ‘see this closet, see this carpet, see this gym floor…it is the same in Cal’s home. If it’s good enough for Cal, then it’s good enough for the kids that will come here every week.’ ” Click here to read the entire story.

spotlight interviews

CELEBRATING 100 FIELDS IN 2021

The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation is about to open our 100th Youth Development Park in the Cherry Hill neighborhood of Baltimore City. To date, over 465,000 at-risk youth have access to one of our Youth Development Parks in 26 states and Washington, D.C., including 19 Adaptive Fields for children with special needs. These baseball or multipurpose, low-maintenance, synthetic surface fields give at-risk youth a safe and clean place to play. 

Reedbird Park will give underserved kids the opportunity to go somewhere productive and learn life lessons about respect, communication, and teamwork through sports from positive adult mentors, as well as have fun in a healthy environment. The Ripken Foundation fields are truly transformational for kids and communities who need them the most. If you would like to make a donation to support the 100th Park campaign, please DONATE NOW

  • Reach and Impact

    Reach & Impact

    In 2020, the Ripken Foundation collaborated with 361 local youth-serving partners and law enforcement agencies in 242 cities and towns in 41 states, Washington, D.C., Curacao, Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands to impact over 1.2 million at-risk youth. The Ripken Foundation Portal, which gives mentors access to our program curriculum guides, impacted 291,201 of those at-risk youth while our new virtual programs reached over 7,850 kids. In addition, we now have 66 STEM Centers completed in 13 states giving over 21,300 kids the early exposure and hands-on opportunity to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

  • Mentoring

    Mentoring

    In 2020, over 2,743 coaches, law enforcement officers, teachers, volunteers, and other youth mentors worked with the kids in our programs. Badges for Baseball, our signature crime prevention and mentoring program, impacted 13,826 kids in 38 communities.

  • Youth Development Parks

    Youth Development Parks

    We’re adding more of our signature Youth Development Parks every year—creating safe places to play and renewing community pride.

    ydp map

Testimonials

We love to hear how the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has positively impacted the lives of our mentors and at-risk youth. If you have a positive experience with the Foundation that you would like to share, please submit a story. You might be featured below or on our social media outlets!

  • Ernie Graham

    I remember meeting Ernie Graham on the second day of the CRSF Summer Camp and listening to the story he told us about how he went from rags to riches to rags. I can honestly say that the summer camp was the reason I came back to school and decided to become a smart athlete.

    Cornell Powell
    Former Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Summer Camp Participant
  • kids with cop shield

    The Badges for Baseball program was a 100% law enforcement participation program and the kids that participated were at-risk kids who would never speak or communicate with the police. That has changed drastically, these kids now run up to the police cruisers and they want to talk to the police.

    Sgt. Randy Shaw
    Stafford County, Virginia
  • kids playing quickball

    The Badges for Baseball program has yielded results that were unforeseen.  The relationships made will be lifelong and the Green Bay Police Department is eager to continue on with the program.

    Officer Kevin Warych
    Green Bay Police Department
  • kids, baseball glove on head

    This CRSF camp trip was packed with “first’s” for most of the members that joined me: it was the first time these members traveled out of state and for some, the first time at a baseball camp. Although the camp was loaded with memories, what stuck with my group of boys the most was the bonding they had with our roommates after all the activities were done.

    BJ Kolb
    Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay
  • kids with cops

    I can remember back to my first day in the Badges for Baseball program. The police officers were amazing, coming out to all the practices and games. They had a big influence on me, and because of them, I am now studying to become a police officer at Fox Valley Tech in Appleton, Wisconsin. It wouldn’t have been possible without Badges for Baseball. 

    Alex Steward
    Former Badges for Baseball Participant
  • cop with four kids

    I have seen students come out of their shells, they are answering questions, they are building relationships with police officers and it is a very positive program in the schools.

    Tricia Winkler
    Principal, Lima South Science-Technology Magnet
  • kids, joyous arms raised

    Although our gym can be quite chaotic during the Badges for Baseball program, it has been rewarding to see the kids practice sportsmanship and leadership during games. I've had multiple students ask me, ‘Can we come back every day?’ It's questions like those that make all the chaos worthwhile.

    Carrie Marsh
    Mentor, Y of Central Maryland
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