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Sports Licensing: Jackie Robinson Commemorated for 75th Anniversary

By Allison Watkinson

TLL Reporter

The Jackie Robinson Foundation and Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee are collaborating on a consumer products line to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day.

Major League Baseball’s 2022 season marks the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic admission to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Robinson’s experience was integral to the fight against racial segregation in professional baseball, as his skill, compassion, and tenacity helped him become the first African-American player in Major League Baseball’s history.

Upon retiring from baseball, Robinson became an executive for the coffee company, Chock Full o’ Nuts. He worked as Vice President of Personnel from 1957 until 1964.

Robinson’s appointment to the company marked him as the first African-American Vice President of a major US corporation, another way the legendary ball player smashed through walls on behalf of people of color. William Black, the founder of the company, was responsible for negotiating his employment.

“Beyond his achievements in sports, Mr. Robinson was a consistent champion for civil rights,” said Eric Van De Wal, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, the owner and manufacturer of the Chock Full o’ Nuts brand. “We are excited to support the memory of this important debut and we remain honored to have had him on our team.”

To celebrate the anniversary, Chock Full o’ Nuts is launching three sizes of licensed, limited-edition Jackie Robinson x Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee cans in stores and at online retailers.

The iconic packaging of Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee products will feature a design incorporating photos of Robinson both as an athlete and as Vice President of the company. The limited-edition products will be released in April, 2022 and a portion of the proceeds from each purchase will be donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

The JRF is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1973 by Robinson’s wife, Rachel Robinson. Since its founding, JRF has provided millions in grants and support to JRF Scholars.

The Foundation preserves the legacy of Jackie Robinson’s success in both baseball and business. The JRF supports the past and future of equitable business through a minority college scholarship program, an online college success platform, and the Jackie Robinson Museum.

“For nearly 50 years, JRF has worked to level the playing field in the workplace, having disbursed over $100 million in aid to talented college students who have gone on to become leaders in their professions and communities,” said Della Britton, president of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

“We are so grateful to Chock Full o’ Nuts® for recognizing the importance of our mission and the contribution of our namesake to corporate America and its own history.”

The licensing partnership between JRF and Chock Full o’ Nuts was developed by IMG. IMG is known for providing licensing and brand management services for its clients in the categories of sports, entertainment, and fashion.

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