Steinbrenner's foundation to aid family of slain officer

Late Yankees owner began Silver Shield to assist with education costs

Steinbrenner's foundation to aid family of slain officer

NEW YORK -- George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees principal owner, started the Silver Shield Foundation in the early 1980s to help the children of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

That foundation will pay for the education of the children of Rafael Ramos, the NYPD officer who was killed along with his partner, Wenjian Liu, while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday.

According to the New York Daily News, Ramos leaves behind two sons: 13-year-old Jaden, and another son, Justin, who attends Bowdoin College in Maine. Liu did not have any children, but leaves behind a wife.

The foundation will provide an education fund of $20,000 per child to assist with tuition payments for prep school, college and university undergraduate and graduate school, vocational and technical school and tutoring services.

Steinbrenner started the foundation in 1982 after attending a funeral of a police officer in New York slain in the line of duty. To date, more than 800 children have received assistance through the program's efforts.

"There would be no Silver Shield Foundation without George Steinbrenner," said William G. Walters, the foundation's chairman. "He believed that these people were underpaid and made our lives possible."

During that ceremony, an American flag was folded military-style and presented to the officer's surviving spouse and children.

"That's when Mr. Steinbrenner said, 'What happens when it comes time for college for these children?'" said K.C. Fuchs, the foundation's chief operating officer. "'We need to help them. We need to start a foundation.'"

Under Steinbrenner's watch, the Yankees donated the proceeds of one home game per season to get the foundation started. The team continues to be "very generous donors," Walters said.

Fuchs said that the foundation has already been in contact with the NYPD's Family Assistance Department. The foundation covers the children of all members of the NYPD, FDNY, state police and Port Authority workers in the tri-state area.

Contributions can be made to: Silver Shield Foundation, 870 United Nations Plaza, 1st Floor, New York, NY, 10017, or via the foundation's website at www.silvershieldfoundation.org.

"We've been the quietest charity there is, because that's the way Mr. Steinbrenner wanted it," Walters said. "We're one of the many jewels that he helped. He had a quote that was interesting; he said, 'If more than two people know about it, it's not charity.'"

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.