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Fundraising goal for Robinson-Shuba statue crosses home plate

"It is so important to build memorials to people and events that bring Americans together," said Sally Bany, co-founder of the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, based in Wilsonville, Ore.

YOUNGSTOWN — An Oregon charitable foundation with ties to a former Youngstown resident has granted $175,000 to the Robinson-Shuba Commemorative Statue project, bringing a conclusion to the statue fundraising campaign.

The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, based in Wilsonville, Ore., near Portland, approved the grant after its co-founder, Sally Bany, watched a CBS Sunday Morning feature story on the statue in September. 

"It is so important to build memorials to people and events that bring Americans together," Bany said in a news release. "The 1946 handshake of Jackie Robinson and George Shuba was such an important moment in our nation's history and truly reflects the best of us. We were so excited to learn about the handshake, and even more pleased to learn we could play a role in making sure the memorial statue will become a reality. Our hope is that this statue reminds generations of Americans about the importance of reaching across our racial differences to advance equality, fairness and unity."

Ernie Brown, co-chair of the statue project committee, said the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation’s executive director, Rachael Sneddon, contacted the committee through its website after watching the Sept. 27 CBS broadcast and asked about providing whatever funding was needed to complete the statue campaign. The grant brings total donations beyond the committee's $400,000 goal. Requests to other sources for statue funding have been withdrawn, the release states.  

"We are thrilled that a group we never even heard of shares our mindset about this statue and the values it reflects and has stepped up with such a tremendous gift — and has a Youngstown connection," Brown said. "We appreciate the generosity of the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation and look forward to recognizing its support with a permanent designation at the statue site.

“We’re grateful for all of the support this statue has received — from the initial $10 online donation from Hubbard to this $175,000 grant from Oregon and everything in between," Brown said.

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