|The Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation (HACDF), a 501(c) charitable foundation founded by Hank and Billye Aaron in 1995, was originally designed to make grants to disadvantaged children between the ages of 9 and 12.
“We established the Foundation to give children with limited opportunities a chance to pursue their dreams,” said Mrs. Aaron. “We recognize that many kids have dreams that their parents cannot always fund. We want to provide that little extra that can go a long way toward making the difference in that child’s life. We believe an early investment in the life of a child can have a lasting impact.”
Hank’s vision, to help 755 youngsters, has far exceeded his goal. The Foundation has provided more than 1,000 young people with vital financial assistance through its various programs:
The “Four for Four” Scholarship Program, begun in 2010, has established twenty-seven four-year partial tuition scholarships to supplement loans, grants and other scholarships needed to help eligible students satisfying their financial obligations. These endowments of $104,000 each were initially established at four institutions: Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA; Texas College, Tyler, TX; Fisk University, Nashville, TN; and, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI in honor of Major League Baseball Commissioner Alan “Bud” Selig, an alumnus.
The Program has since expanded to include an additional 10 colleges and universities: Atlanta Technical College, Atlanta, GA; Berry College, Rome, GA; Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA; Dillard University, New Orleans, LA; Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, WI; Spelman College, Atlanta, GA; Talladega College, Talladega, AL; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL; University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI; and, Xavier University, New Orleans, LA.
Since the program’s inception, 80 college students have received partial tuition scholarships of up to $4,000 to supplement loans, grants and other subsidies needed for satisfying their financial obligation for a semester or a year. The balance of $100,000 is placed in the School’s Endowment Program to provide subsequent annual scholarships of at least $4,000.
Proceeds from A Salute to the Life & Times of Henry Aaron on February 3, 2017, will go directly toward endowing the Four for Four Scholarship Program.
The Original HACDF Scholarship Program, established in 1998, has provided financial assistance to more than 1,000 youngsters in six cities across the country, primarily through their local Boys & Girls Clubs. This program continues at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and is administered by the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Fund through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. In partnership with the Milwaukee Brewers Community Foundation, the Aarons travel to Milwaukee annually to raise funds which sustain the Milwaukee program.
The “44 Forever” Program
Announced at a press conference during the 2007 World Series, the Foundation, Major League Baseball (MLB) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America formed a new partnership. A gift of $2.3 million from MLB has enabled the Foundation to establish The Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream “44 Forever” program which helps at least 44 youngsters, annually, with stipends of up to $2,500 each. This program is currently being offered to youngsters at 4,200 Boys & Girls Clubs located in schools, public housing, cities, rural areas, and on Native lands across the country and U.S. military bases world-wide.