The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) announced today that equality trailblazers Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss will be honored at its 5th Anniversary Blue Diamond Gala on Wednesday, June 12 at Dodger Stadium.
The social activists, tennis champions, and longtime partners, who recently joined the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group, will be recognized for their ongoing commitment to creating positive change through sports.
Sports Legend, Los Angeles Dodgers Owner, and LADF Board Member Earvin "Magic" Johnson will also take the stage to introduce world-renowned musician Bruno Mars, who will bring the house down with a benefit concert for all in attendance. The evening will kick off with a star-studded blue carpet and pre-show dinner party, followed by two hours of entertainment and post-show food trucks, all to celebrate the impactful work being done year-round by LADF. For tickets, sponsorship packages, and more information, please visit www.dodgers.com/gala.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be honoring such iconic and influential leaders, who have for the entirety of their careers, used their platforms to advocate for those who need it most,” said Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation CEO Nichol Whiteman. “The work that Ms. King and Ms. Kloss do to enhance lives through sports, leadership and advocacy is perfectly aligned with our own ‘Bigger Than Baseball’ mentality, and we couldn’t think of a better way to honor their commitment than at our biggest celebration of the year!”
Since inception, LADF has invested over $25 million into the Los Angeles community in the form of direct programs and grant making to local organizations, impacting millions of children. Proceeds from the Blue Diamond Gala will directly impact LADF’s Dodgers RBI, and Dodgers Dreamfields programs. Past Blue Diamond galas have contributed to strengthened infrastructure, growth in programs, and increased fundraising. LADF now serves more than 10,000 youth through Dodgers RBI and impacts over 300,000 youth through Dodgers Dreamfields – with 24 of 50 fields completed in the last five years alone. LADF has pledged to build an additional 25 fields in the next 15 years.
King and Kloss co-founded the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace. It advocates for equal pay for equal work and advancing equal representation in leadership roles. The couple are also founding board members of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and both serve on the executive committee of the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF). Founded by King in 1974, WSF works to advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity and has awarded more than $80 million in educational and cash grants since its inception.
Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life magazine and a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, King was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 after a professional career in which she won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles, including a record 20 Wimbledon championships. In 2006, she became the first woman to have a major sports venue named in her honor when The USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., was rededicated as the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in recognition of her accomplishments on and off the court. She was also the subject of Fox Searchlight’s critically acclaimed 2017 film, Battle of the Sexes, which depicts the cultural and social impact of her groundbreaking match against Bobby Riggs. She also founded the Women’s Tennis Association and is a past member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
King’s Los Angeles and baseball ties date to her childhood in Long Beach, where she grew up playing youth basketball and softball before taking up tennis at age 11. She graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School and also attended California State University, Los Angeles from 1961-64. King’s younger brother, Randy Moffitt, pitched in 12 Major League seasons with the Giants, Astros and Blue Jays from 1972-83.
Kloss is the Managing Partner of Billie Jean King Enterprises and the former CEO and Commissioner of World TeamTennis. A former No. 1 doubles player and U.S. Open doubles champion, she is a member of both the National and International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Kloss, a native of South Africa, serves on the executive board of the Tennis Industry Association and was named the Sports Businesswoman of the Year by the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center in 2007.