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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

Office of Diversity & Inclusion

2014 – Third Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award

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On January 24, 2014, Downstate recognized The Jackie Robinson Foundation with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Award. The award, sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, recognizes individuals and organizations who have a distinguished record in molding consensus to shape solutions to important societal challenges. Damian Travier Director, Mentoring and Leadership Programs, represented the Foundation and gave the keynote address.


3 men standing for photo

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson

The Jackie Robinson Foundation

Described in The New York Times in 2008 as what "might be the best educational effort in the country," the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is a national, not–for–profit, organization founded in 1973 as a vehicle to perpetuate the memory of Jackie Robinson through the advancement of higher education among underserved populations. Uniquely, JRF provides generous four–year college scholarships in conjunction with a comprehensive set of skills and opportunities to disadvantaged students of color to ensure their success in college and to develop their leadership potential. JRF's hands–on, four–year program includes peer and professional mentoring, internship placement, extensive leadership training, international travel and community service options, the conveyance of practical life skills, and a myriad of networking opportunities. JRF's strategic combination of financial assistance and support services results consistently in a nearly 100% college graduation rate.


Keynote Speaker

Damian Travier, Director of Education and Leadership Development, joined the Jackie Robinson Foundation in September of 2006. In this role, he is responsible for the development and execution of the Foundation's programmatic initiatives and serves as primary liaison for the organizations corporate partners.

Mr. Travier has spent much of his professional career working with youth and community. He was Youth Development Director for an inner-city housing development during his time as a VISTA Volunteer. He has also been Program Manager for the New York City Partnership in Lower Manhattan, where he was involved in early planning for NYC's bid to host the Olympics in 2012. Mr. Travier has been a board member for numerous organizations and partnerships, including the White House Initiative on HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and the Syracuse University Mentor Mentee Association (SUMMA). He was recently appointed to the board of directors for Democracy Prep Charter School in Harlem, NY.