• Leonard Webb

Changing the Game for Urban Youth

Updated: Feb 14


In 2013, Robert Lewis, Jr. launched the BASE to shift the national mindset about what it takes for urban youth to succeed, and to build a movement of citizens committed to their success. Where others see “at risk-underserved-disadvantaged,” The BASE sees talent, hard work, and dedication, and they develop those assets. The BASE is showing the nation that Urban Talent is American Talent.


The BASE operates a premier urban youth academy in Roxbury, MA, leveraging the passion of baseball, softball, basketball, and esports, to create pathways to higher education and 21st century careers through academic support, scholarships, internships, and overall health and wellness.

The BASE engages and builds strong relationships with many other diverse leaders and institutions committed to changing minds, lives, and the status quo, from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, higher education, the community, and beyond.

The BASE in Boston continues to grow its national footprint. It established an affiliated program in Chicago, IL and hosted National Urban Sports Classics in both cities, as well as in Indianapolis, IN and Pittsburgh, PA. The BASE’s annual National Urban Sports Classic in Boston has become the showcase for the best in urban youth sports, serving diverse teams from throughout the country.


Just a few SUCCESS stories from The BASE!

  • Since 2013, over 350 BASE student athletes have matriculated to college, career training or the workforce

  • The BASE has grown its talent pool from 75 student athletes to over 1,500 annually

  • Won the United States Baseball Championships in 2013 and 2015

  • Growing from its roots as a boys baseball program, The BASE now offers girls baseball, softball, basketball, and esports

  • The BASE has secured over $45M in academic scholarships for students, and over 150 internships

  • Opened a new, state-of-the-art facility in Roxbury’s Newmarket business area, with a focus on impacting our entire community

  • Several former BASE/Boston Astros players competed or are currently competing in the MLB: Manny Delcarmen, The Boston Red Sox; Juan Carlos Portes, The Minnesota Twins; Nelfi Zapata, The New York Mets; Eddy Morabel, The Texas Rangers; Jamill Moquete, The Baltimore Orioles; Calvin Graves, The Chicago Cubs; Pat Ruotolo, The San Francisco Giants; and Ben Bowden, The Colorado Rockies.


Robert Lewis, Jr. is a nationally recognized thought leader, public speaker, and social innovator. He’s well known as a bridge-builder, convener, and catalyst for collaboration among diverse business, civic, and public-sector entities in Greater Boston and beyond. Most importantly, he’s a tireless advocate for our urban youth, believing it is our moral obligation to help

of City Year Boston, President of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), and Executive Director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF). As Vice President of Programs at The Boston Foundation, he directed the distribution of more than $18 million in discretionary grants annually.



Robert remains a highly sought-after public speaker on issues of race, equal opportunity, youth sports, higher education, and what the 21st Century workforce can, and should, look like. He has addressed thousands of attendees at major national conferences and on college campuses across the U.S.


He serves as Executive in Residence at the Lewis Family Institute at Babson College, Co-Chairs Governor Baker’s Statewide Black Advisory Commission, sits on the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Board of Directors, is a Trustee for the University of Massachusetts, and received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Assumption College, MA; Cambridge College, MA; Franklin Pierce University, NH; William James College, MA; Simmons College, MA and New England Law, MA.


For more on “The BASE” log on to www.thebase.org

When you see Ethnic GEM Robert Lewis around town, be sure to thank him for his dedication and commitment to making a difference in the lives of so many!




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