Known as one of Baltimore’s top single-day fundraisers, the 16th annual Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Aspire Gala did not disappoint! On Friday, February 21, Cal and Bill Ripken helped host the annual event that raised $3.9 million to help support the Ripken Foundation’s work with at-risk youth across the country.

Honorees included National Baseball Hall of Fame Manager, Tony La Russa, Professional Golfer & 10-time Major Champion, Annika Sörenstam, and retired United States Marine & Paralympic Athlete, Rob Jones, who were recognized and honored by the Ripken Foundation for their dedication to improving the lives of others. Venus Simone Rogers from Havelock, North Carolina, was presented with the Ripken Scholar Award for her peer mentorship with the Ripken Foundation’s I’m GREAT and Badges for Baseball programs, in addition to her commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain.

The 16th Annual Aspire Gala included a lively cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, program, and special musical performance by Canadian Music Hall of Fame rock band LOVERBOY.

About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation

For the last 18 years, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has worked tirelessly to implement youth development programs and create parks that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed communities across the country. Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripkens’ created the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr.

The Ripken Foundation uses sports-themed activities to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 9 – 14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills.

The Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multipurpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. Since 2009, the Ripken Foundation has 91 completed parks across the country in 24 states and Washington, D.C. In 2019, the Ripken Foundation impacted over 1.5 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs.