The Rudd Foundation is pleased to announce its $1 million capital leadership gift to the League 42 Foundation, which will fund the construction of a new learning and activities center in Wichita, Kansas, to be named the “Leslie Rudd Education Center.”
The League 42 Foundation, named in honor of baseball great and first African-American MLB player Jackie Robinson, was originally founded to provide Wichita’s urban youth with an opportunity to play baseball and has since grown to a league of nearly 600 players and over 40 teams. Beyond simply providing the avenue for kids to play a team sport, the League 42 Foundation strives to share its core values of commitment, hard work, and personal responsibility with its players. The League 42 Foundation is now expanding its mission to provide after-school activities and learning opportunities for young children and youth.
The Rudd Foundation was established by Leslie Rudd in 1998 to honor similar values of grit, determination and work ethic that strengthen character and lead to success in business, community and family. Leslie, who passed away in 2018, was a successful entrepreneur who owned / invested in many businesses including Standard Beverage, Dean & DeLuca, Lone Star Steakhouse, and others. He was a significant supporter of the Wichita community and the state of Kansas, both during his lifetime and through his philanthropic vision now being executed following his passing.
Leslie had a strong passion and understanding of the importance of education and life experience in fostering a culture of achievement. As a result, he established the Rudd Scholars program, which provides 4-year college scholarships, covering all tuition, fees, books, supplies, and on-campus room and board to Kansas high school graduates who demonstrate grit, possess the initiative to strive to achieve their goals, and positively impact those around them. The Rudd Scholars program has grown during the past few years to provide scholarships, mentoring and ongoing support to 100 plus scholars this Fall, and looks forward to continuing to make a difference in the current scholars’ lives (and future classes of scholars each year).
Through the new relationship with League 42, the Rudd Foundation and its Rudd Scholars will engage with and assist in the mentoring efforts of elementary, middle school and high school youth at the new learning center and in the League 42 sports and activities programs.
“We value the opportunity to provide such experiences for our college scholars and to encourage the League 42 participants to develop the values we look for in awarding our scholarships – humility, perseverance, a positive attitude, and hard work. Our hope is that we will soon be naming some of these young people as Rudd Scholars and continuing to watch them grow and develop throughout their education and careers,” said Darrell Swank, President of the Rudd Foundation. “This project will further Leslie Rudd’s vision of supporting the Wichita community including areas of high need, and we are extremely pleased to work with Bob Lutz and the League 42 Foundation in its evolution.”