What a great personal thrill the other night. Why? Because I had the extreme honor of having dinner with the only living son of one of my all-time heroes, the legendary Jackie Robinson.
One of my long-time and closest friends, Chris Tavlarides, and I hosted a dinner at Cafe Milano in Georgetown last Thursday night with David Robinson and Brian Hyland, an 8-time Emmy winning producer. We met with them to discuss an array of topics, but the primary reason was to get to know David and to learn more about his coffee syndicate business in Tanzania.
But, first, some background on why Jackie Robinson is one of my heroes. For those of you that know me or read my blogs, you know that my passions are Sports, Philanthropy, Diversity and Education. Well, there are very few people that cover all of these areas. And, #42, Mr. Robinson, certainly is a trail-blazer and leader. After all, he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers knew that it would take a person of high caliber and integrity to be able to lead this charge. And, Jackie Robinson was the ideal player. He faced so much hatred – yet, he turned the other cheek and he played the game the right way. He soon gained the admiration of not only his teammates but from opposing teams, too.
The personal quote from my Facebook page is from Mr. Robinson … “A life is not important except in the impact has on other lives.” That is one of the ways I try to lead my life — by helping others, by mentoring others, by advising others. I’ve been taught by wonderful mentors — Ted Leonsis and Mario Morino. But, I’ve also read so many books and articles about such trailblazers as Jackie Robinson who showed us the way.
The story of his son, David, who I had the great joy of meeting last week, is a fascinating one. He’s lived in Tanzania the past 26 years. David runs Sweet Unity Farms, an international network of farmers focused on the next decade of growth. In its’ 20th year, Sweet Unity Farms is a change agent for the lives of farmers, consumers and corporate employees and associates. Just as his father, Jackie, was a change agent in the US – and positively impacted so many lives, David is a change agent in Tanzania.
To learn more, please visit their website at http://www.sweetunityfarmerscoffee.com. Also, please view this tremendous piece about David that was written and produced for HBO Sports by the wonderfully talented, Brian Hyland. The link to the video is — http://www.upcountryinternational.net/DAVID_COSTAS.html
I am going to my best to raise the profile of David’s work with Sweet Unity Farmers as well as do our best to help extend the legacy of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. More to come in the near future.