Forward. By definition, the word represents movement, progress, direction – all of which are qualities embodied within organizations throughout the Sport for Development sector. For SportForward it also represents the movement they’ve helped to create over the past 25 years by providing sports programming for communities in-need in 65 countries around the globe. SportForward’s programs use sport as a developmental tool to address key issues in education, health & hygiene, gender and disability awareness & inclusion, and peace building. As these issues continue to be challenges found around the world, their programs have reached thousands of youth and adults, and worked to bridge the divide and foster stronger communities.
We asked SportForward for some perspective on where they’ve been over those 25 years, where the sector is headed and what we can do collectively to keep moving, forward.
In the sports world, the first part of January is jam packed with big news and lots of excitement. From football playoffs in the NCAA and the NFL, to the heart of competitive ski & snowboard season, to the start of the tennis circuit with the Australian Open, there's plenty to get fired up about. And it's no different for us at Sports and Social Change, as we have some great news to share...
I am big proponent of the "Social Enterprise" movement and have spent much of the past several years studying, learning and sharing ideas with colleagues in the sports, business, nonprofit and academic community about using business practices to address social issues. For the past few years I've been very involved with the Los Angeles chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance, a national professional organization dedicated to driving the Social Enterprise movement at all levels. And this year, I'm honored to have been asked to serve on the board of the LA chapter, where I'll help guide the educational programs and resources we share in our community. LA has a thriving Social Enterprise culture, with dozens of business and nonprofit orgs who are taking innovative approaches to solving critical local, national and global issues. My goal is to take a lot of what's being accomplished here and share it with the sports community at large.
Walking the halls of the Agenda show is always a great chance to see what's hip and happening in pop culture. One of the best lifestyle apparel & footwear trade shows going, Agenda offers the perfect mash-up of street wear and action sports, where many of the top brands showcase what's coming down the pipeline for next year.
I'm always on the lookout for products that transcend the norm with a cause related tie-in, and this year's show presented several brands, new and old, that have embraced a growing trend towards "Upcycling" - basically re-purposing and re-using old and used items into something new and useful. Here's a quick look at a few of the brands that stood out...
I wanted to give a quick shout out to Coaches Across Continentswho were recently selected to receive a 6 month pro-bono consulting package to help with their Google Ad Grants program. This was a promotion we ran earlier this year with our friends at Elite SEM who offered to provide their expertise and training to a sports nonprofit program who is actively using Google Ad Grants.
To give you a little background, Coaches Across Continents is an international nonprofit org running sports programs that address key social issues through sport including health and wellness, life skills, HIV behavior change, drug abuse, female empowerment, gender equity and conflict resolution. In 2013, they were operating in 20 countries with 51 implementing community partner programs, educating over 2,100 community coaches who impacted more than 170,000 young people.
Take a quick look....
Things are just getting underway with Elite SEM's consulting and we'll be reporting throughout the year on the progress of Coaches Across Continents and their Google Ads. We hope to share some best practices and valuable lessons learned along the way that can be beneficial for any organization who participates in the Google Ad Grants program.