About Us

The CTG Foundation focuses on three pillars to support communities across the country – youth mentorship programs, law enforcement training, and domestic abuse support. Through a variety of training resources, designed specifically for each audience, its experts create tailored programming to help empower its participants.

Recent events have disproportionately affected minorities, women, and children, and widened the divide between law enforcement and the communities they serve — creating an environment in which the basic right of being safe is increasingly out of reach. CTG uniquely approaches the issue of from all angles by providing training to law enforcement officers, organizing youth mentorship programs that create a dialogue with law enforcement and community leaders, and giving women the skills they need to recognize and escape dangerous situations.

The CTG Foundation is led by retired New York Police Department Detective and former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Richard Baker and National Football League retired star Clifton Smith. Together, Baker and Smith are creating open dialogue between law enforcement, city officials and community organizers to create meaningful relationships among the youth in the communities in which they live, work and have served through sports and public service. Additionally, through key experts in their fields, Baker and Smith have deployed critical training programs to help provide support to those who need it most.

Our communities are hurting... and the system is broken. There is no one-size-fits-all silver bullet, but through continued community engagement and training, CTG creates a forum for open discussion and a pathway to a better life.

Our Team

Rich Baker
Rich Baker is the Founder and CEO of The Close the Gap Foundation. Upon his retirement as a Detective with the New York Police Department (NYPD), Rich Baker has dedicated his life’s work to bridging the gap between law enforcement and community, as well as providing support to youth and domestic violence survivors. Following the social unrest of 2020, Rich was inspired to take his passion to the next level with the creation of The Close the Gap Foundation. Rich’s history with the NYPD, which spanned a variety of positions, and first-hand experience with the community fuels his desire to empower those whose voices may not be heard and help equip law enforcement with training needed to improve community relations. Before his career with the NYPD, Rich served in the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). Rich enlisted with the Marines immediately following 9/11 and held a variety of ranks, including multiple deployments to Iraq and other foreign countries.
Clifton Smith, Jr. is a former American football running back and return specialist who played in the National Football League, Canadian Football League and United Football League. Born in Fresno, CA, Clifton attended Fresno State and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He went the football route, and joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted rookie in 2008. He is the only undrafted Rookie to make the Pro Bowl as a running back/punt returner. Clifton has a strong passion for youth sports. He coaches teams throughout the Tampa Bay area, including his children’s baseball and football teams.
Jon has developed a unique systematic approach to training individuals in de-escalation tactics that enables a high retention level. With over thirty years of experience in training and teaching mixed martial arts and self-defense his methodologies have been implemented by members of the U.S. military as well as state and federal law enforcement agencies. During his three decade career, Jon has been privileged to teach non-compliant cuffing techniques, weapons retention, upright and ground self-defense techniques to individuals of all ages, industries and abilities.