Organization Will Provide Programming and Initiatives to Leverage the Power of Sports

PASADENA, Calif. (August 5th, 2020) – Today, the Rose Bowl Stadium and the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation announced the exciting launch of the Rose Bowl’s first ever non-profit think tank, the Rose Bowl Institute (RBI). The Institute will champion sportsmanship and leverage the power of sports to unite people everywhere.

More than any other venue in the world, the Rose Bowl Stadium sits in the American psyche as the place where natural beauty, sports competition, sportsmanship, leadership and healthy entertainment lives. Using the iconic Stadium as a classroom, with a wide digital footprint and ‘sister cities’ around the nation, the Institute will engage civic and business leaders, athletes, sportscasters, journalists, children and noteworthy panelists to highlight sports values and their impact on the broader society. The Institute will initially concentrate on sportsmanship, leadership and citizenship initiatives.  

The launch of the Rose Bowl Institute will include a three-part dialogue on Race and Sports that is set to begin on August 13th, to be moderated by Maria Taylor with Taylor Branch, Cobi Jones, Ronnie Lott and Sharon Robinson on the panel; a live-streamed Women’s Empowerment Symposium on September 16 th-18th with Madeline Albright as one of the keynoters; and a series of private round table gatherings called Rose Table Dialogues. Future plans call for a Center on Sports and Innovation, the Rose Bowl Sportsmanship Initiative (ROSI) that will recognize, encourage and award outstanding acts of sportsmanship, and an annual conference where respected leaders will come together to help spark change in sports and in society.

“The Rose Bowl is not only a venue known for legendary sports moments, but also as a shrine to amazing sports values,” said Darryl Dunn, CEO/General Manager of the Rose Bowl Stadium. “The Rose Bowl Institute will reflect and celebrate the essence of the Rose Bowl as we look forward to celebrating our centennial in 2022 and instilling strong sports values in American youth to develop more engaged citizens. We are excited to partner in this amazing venture.”

Charlie Firestone, a former vice president of the Aspen Institute and longtime executive director of its Communications and Society Program, will serve as the Institute’s inaugural President. The Institute has begun to form an Advisory Board comprised of national leading sports, media, civic and business leaders.  They include Vince Young, Ronnie Lott, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Julie Foudy, JC Watts, Dick Vermeil, Jessica Mendoza, Billie Jean King and others.

“This is the right organization, created at the right time, to address critical issues of sports values relevant to our democracy,” said Firestone. “Sportsmanship incorporates appreciation for the game, respect for the opponent, fair play and teamwork. All of those pertain to the vital role that citizens play in our society today. We are non-partisan but not value-neutral. We will work for integrity, inclusion, equity, and fairness in sports and beyond.”

The Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, founded in 2010, serves to ensure the protection, preservation and enhancement of the future of the Stadium as a National Historic Landmark. Since launching, it has established funding for key Stadium capital improvement initiatives, heritage protection, and now, educational programming through the Rose Bowl Institute. The Foundation relies on the generosity of supporters from around the world, who are invested in the venue’s past, present and future.

“As Nelson Mandela observed, ‘Sport has the power to change the world,’” said Dedan Brozino, Chief Development Officer of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation. “Sports is a unifier for communities and society and it is our intent that the Rose Bowl Institute will leverage the spirit of this special venue to impact the mindsets of youth and community on togetherness.”

See introductory video here.  If you are interested in more information please email or visit

Rose Bowl Institute Advisory Board

  • Maurice Ashley – American Grandmaster, member of US Chess Hall of Fame, founder of Harlem Chess Center, author and commentator. (New York, NY)
  • Tim Brant – 30-year broadcast veteran; 2013 Broadcaster of the Year; former broadcast partner of Keith Jackson (Chevy Chase, MD)
  • Ann Meyers Drysdale – UCLA basketball star, first female sports scholarship recipient at UCLA, Basketball Hall of Famer, broadcaster and sports executive; considered one of the top five female athletes of all time (Huntington Beach, CA)
  • Tom Farrey – Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program; author of Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of our Children; former writer for ESPN (San Clemente, CA)
  • Julie Foudy – former captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team with a 17-year career from 1987-2004; won two FIFA Women’s World Cup titles and three Olympic medals; member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame; four-time All-American at Stanford; commentator for ESPN Soccer and ESPNw (Orange County, CA)
  • Dan Fouts – 15-years as quarterback for the San Diego Chargers, Pro Football Hall of Fame; 1979 AFL Most Valuable Player (AP); broadcast analyst (Sisters, Oregon)
  • Lauren Gibbs – 2x Olympic Medalist (bobsled), public speaker, team captain and All-Ivy volleyball player at Brown University. (Denver, CO) 
  • Cobi Jones – 3x World Cup participant; Olympian; National Soccer Hall of Fame Inductee; first jersey retired in MLS history; all-time leader for Team USA in caps; analyst for Fox Sports and the LA Galaxy’s analyst for Spectrum Sportsnet (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Billie Jean King – Sports icon and equality champion (New York, NY)
  • Ronnie Lott – Pro Football and College Football Hall of Famer; 4x Super Bowl Champion; 2x Rose Bowl Game Champion (Bay Area, CA)
  • Jessica Mendoza – ESPN analyst, became the first woman to serve as a baseball analyst for nationally- televised MLB games; Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist; USA Softball Athlete of the Year in 2006 and member of the National Softball Hall of Fame; 4x All-American at Stanford University (New York, NY)
  • Larry Paul – minority owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Board member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Los Angeles, CA)
  • John Sciarra – 1976 Rose Bowl Game MVP for UCLA; played for Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL and in the Canadian Football League; business entrepreneur (Newport Beach, CA)
  • Maria Taylor – ESPN host and reporter and NBA Countdown host; former intercollegiate student- athlete (Atlanta, GA)
  • Dick Vermeil – Super Bowl winning coach; former NFL coach of the Eagles, Rams and Chiefs; coached UCLA to the 1976 Rose Bowl Game victory in an upset of Ohio State (Doylestown, PA)
  • J.C. Watts – President of Black News Channel, former U.S. Congressman (R-OK) (1995-2003); gridiron star as a quarterback at the University of Oklahoma; first African American elected to statewide office in Oklahoma (Eufaula, OK)
  • Jason Whitlock – Sports journalist and media personality with Outkick the Coverage; sportswriter for the Kansas City Star from 1994-2010 before stops at ESPN and Fox Sports. (Los Angeles, CA and Nashville, TN)
  • Marcellus Wiley – Host of ‘Speak for Yourself’, retired NFL All-Pro, Ivy League Hall of Fame (Columbia University), Author of the book ‘Never Shut Up’
  • Vince Young – Two-time Rose Bowl MVP, Heisman Trophy Runner-Up, National Champion University of Texas, Former NFL All-Pro Player and College Football Hall of Famer

About the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation

Formed in 2010, the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)3, tax-exempt organization whose primary goal is to financially ensure the protection, preservation and enhancement of the future of the Stadium as a National Historic Landmark. The Foundation has established funding for key capital improvement initiatives, educational programming and heritage protection due to the generosity of supporters from around the world who are invested in its premier future. 

About the Rose Bowl Stadium

The Rose Bowl Stadium is the proud home of the Tournament of Roses’ Rose Bowl Game, UCLA Bruins football, AmericaFest Fourth of July Celebration, concerts including Kenny Chesney, Coldplay, Taylor Swift and U2, international and Premier League soccer matches and the World’s Largest Flea Market.

A National Historic Landmark built in 1922 and known around the world, the Rose Bowl Stadium has earned its world-class reputation by hosting five NFL Super Bowl games, the 1984 Olympic Soccer matches, the 1994 Men’s World Cup, the 1999 Women’s World Cup, four BCS National College Football Championship Games and the College Football Playoff Semi-Final game. 

Explore more: