A Hometown Hero, on and off the field

Hank Aaron’s Chasing the Dream Fund granted nearly $1 million supporting local youth

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is celebrating the life of Henry Louis Aaron, one of the greatest players in baseball history, whose death on Jan. 22, 2021, was felt throughout the community and sporting world.

Aaron was the MVP in 1957 when the Braves won the World Series, bringing Milwaukee its first and only major league championship. He broke Babe Ruth’s longstanding home run record while simultaneously coping with hate mail, death threats and persisting racism. Despite this, he played with trademark talent and grace, and was the first Black man for whom white fans in the South cheered. For generations of athletes and civil rights advocates who followed, he showed how to be proud and unafraid to stand up for what is right and just.

He was a Hall of Famer on and off the field. While he will always be remembered worldwide for his contributions to the game, his most enduring legacy may be his generous and heartfelt contributions to his community, and for that, the Foundation honors our Hometown Hero.

It may not be well known that Hank Aaron’s Chasing the Dream Fund was established at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation in 1976 when Aaron was only 42 years old and retiring as one of the best baseball players in the world.

In the words of Aaron himself, this fund was created to, “benefit the youth of our community, particularly those from deprived backgrounds and to improve the educational, social and cultural programs and opportunities available to them.” 

The fund has granted nearly $1 million in scholarships for local youth through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, Alverno College, MATC, the University of Wisconsin and Mount Mary University. His fund also gave to Morehouse College, an HBCU that many in Milwaukee consider to be a sister college. After graduation, countless Morehouse alumni return to their hometown of Milwaukee as leaders with exceptional careers. 

The community contributed to his fund over the years, including friends, family, local foundations and the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club in honor of Aaron’s personal philanthropy and generous heart.

Aaron understood community and said, “whatever I’ve personally achieved in life, it's not just because of me, it’s because of people around me.”

We are greater together and a stronger Milwaukee because of Henry Louis Aaron.

Donate to the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Fund