Bigger than Baseball
LADF will unveil three Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park, which honor Jackie Robinson and revive baseball and softball play in the area, as youth develop from T-ball to high school and college athletics. This project will also include features that further benefit the local community, such as Fitness and Training Zones (named for Kershaw’s Challenge), solar elements on scoreboards, PV carports and EV charging stations in the parking lot, and the LADF Science of Baseball curriculum for grades 3-8, that uses baseball as a fun STEM textbook.
Has your proposal changed due to COVID-19?
At the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), we know that we must be bigger than baseball and that means taking a leadership role in not only helping “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 spreading throughout our communities, but by doubling down and expanding access to assistance so many of us need during this crisis. Since our community groundbreaking event in February, LADF launched relief efforts but has remained in constant communication with Gonzales Park project and construction partners. LADF is currently evaluating the project completion timeline in accordance with LA County Department of Public and Health orders and local Compton and LA Mayors’ Safer at Home directives.
LADF and its partners remain committed to this project. There have been no changes made to the project scope or design. Plans for continued construction are tentatively set for later this fall. We envision a significant grand opening celebration in spring 2021 honoring Jackie Robinson and uplifting the Compton community.
This project will include building three Dodgers Dreamfields and Fitness and Training Zones, alongside lead partners Kershaw’s Challenge and the City of Compton. This project will help restore Gonzales Park to its prior baseball glory and promote a positive environment for youth to play baseball and softball. We believe that Dodgers Dreamfields are game-changers, because revitalized green spaces help revitalize communities, boosting the safety of local parks and providing a place where neighbors can gather, exercise and play.
LADF looks forward to project completion so that, when it's safe to gather again, our youth and families can reenter and enjoy this new community space together.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
County of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project?
Expand existing program
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
City of Compton
The Annenberg Foundation
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
The Leon Lowenstein Foundation
Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
The Water Buffalo Club
If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.
Kershaw’s Challenge will sponsor the Fitness and Training Zones, which include an outdoor training area, two enclosed batting cages and bullpens, infield practice area, and outdoor fitness equipment to engage the community to visit the park.
The City of Compton will support these Dodgers Dreamfields as part of Compton’s 2020 citywide beautification initiative to encourage youth to play baseball/softball in their neighborhood.
The Annenberg Foundation, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, LA84 Foundation, Security Benefit, The Leon Lowenstein Foundation, Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and The Water Buffalo Club have committed funding for this project, bringing about a renewed energy to the sustainability and revival of Compton, a neighborhood that has been historically neglected.
What is the need you’re responding to?
Understanding cost, lack of community safety and park access, and poor quality fields are significant barriers to baseball/softball participation and health outcomes in Compton, LADF identified Gonzales Park as the site for Dodgers Dreamfields #55-57. The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation recognizes a standard of 4 acres of parkland per 1,000 people, but predominately African American neighborhoods have only 1.7 acres and Latino communities only 0.6 acres per 1,000 people.
Gonzales Park has become a baseball desert due to rising costs of baseball equipment, lack of quality coaches, and decreased local investment. With lack of activity at the park, gangs and community violence made it an unsafe environment for youth to visit, leaving 28,000 Compton youth under 18 (29% of total residents) with limited opportunities to play baseball/softball in their neighborhood. In Compton, poverty levels are significant, as 30% of families with children live below the poverty line.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
LADF has invested over $10 million to build and refurbish 51 Dodgers Dreamfields across some of Los Angeles’ most underserved communities.
Alongside Vision to Learn, American Heart Association and Compton Police Department, LADF has worked to build vibrant futures for Compton’s youth by providing district-wide eye screenings and a CPR skills program, which have impacted thousands of Compton Unified School District students. LADF uses sports and fields to unlock access to health and education resources.
LADF aims to build upon its work in the community and honor Jackie Robinson’s legacy, through its largest Dodgers Dreamfields project to-date at Gonzales Park. The Dodgers Dreamfields associated with this project will support youth from T-ball to high school and college athletics, as Field 42 will be for baseball/softball players ages 5-8, Rachel Robinson Field for baseball players ages 9-12 and softball players ages 9-18, and Jackie Robinson Stadium for baseball players ages 13+.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
Direct Impact: 1,000
Indirect Impact: 96,000
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
Dodgers Dreamfields are game-changers because revitalized green spaces help revitalize communities, boosting the safety of local parks and providing a place where neighbors can gather, exercise and play. We construct them and give them back to the community to serve as resource hubs for communities to access resources they need to live healthier lives.
These Dodgers Dreamfields are also part of Compton’s beautification initiatives, which will encourage youth to play baseball/softball and empower community members to gather in outdoor recreational spaces for many years to come.
Roughly 28,000 youth live in Compton (29% of residents; 66.8% Latino, 30.4% Black/African American). More than 91% of students receive free or reduced school lunch.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
The goal for the Dodgers Dreamfields at Gonzales Park is to revive baseball and softball play in the area while providing access to safe, playable fields for the community.
LADF employs a full-time Manager of Strategy & Impact to oversee its comprehensive evaluation system to ensure program models are using best practices and factoring in relevant data. Measurement tools are tailored to capture Dodgers Dreamfields’ goals and outcomes, and include field assessment surveys, pre and post program surveys, demographic data collection, focus groups with parents and program coaches, pre and post interviews with park staff, surveys from special events, meetings with community partners, and interviews with grantees. The data obtained provides direct insight on participant’s and partner’s experiences with Dodgers Dreamfields, as well as program success, benefits, effectiveness and opportunities for growth.
Dodgers Dreamfields are significant, as they promote a safe park environment according to 95% of park directors and contribute to a positive change in the park’s environment according to 94.7% of park sites. Additionally, Dodgers Dreamfields increase overall park usage and programming as reported by 66.7% of parks, increase baseball participation for 81.5% of parks, and increase softball participation for 61.8% of parks, which validates the value Dodgers Dreamfields bring to the community, meeting the intended goals of the program. LADF anticipates similar outcomes at Gonzales Park.
Which of the PLAY metrics will your submission impact?
Youth sports participation
Access to open space and park facilities
Easy access to a safe park
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
LA is the best place to LEARN
LA is the best place to CONNECT
LA is the healthiest place to LIVE
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
Access to the LA2050 community