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A few months back, I posted a recap of the Group Y Action Sports Conference, where I had the chance to meet with the folks behind some amazing organizations, who are doing great things in skate/surf/snow/bmx. One of those is the LA & NY-based Stoked Mentoring program, where disadvantaged youth are given the chance to learn how to skate, surf or snowboard.


But the program goes much deeper than just teaching kids how to shred, grind and ollie - it's about providing tangible life skills through mentorship, and it truly shows how sports can be an effective platform for bringing about meangingful and impactful change. How so? Every kid who's been through the Stoked program has graduated from High School.


Stoked co-founders Steve Larosiliere and Sal Masekela gave a great presentation about encouraging diversity in action sports, how their program works as well as some take-aways for anyone who shares in the vision of empowering change through sport. Check out the video clip of the presentation below...


Action Sports Conference 2010: Stoked Mentoring from group Y on Vimeo.


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Monday, 11 October 2010 22:38

The Day the Cars Stood Still in Los Angeles

Ok, so we all know that Los Angeles is the car capital of the USA. This sprawling metropolis almost requires you to have 4 wheeled motorized transportation to get around (although I do know a select few who make it work without ;-). But on Sunday 10-10-10, a new "car-free" zone was established - well, at least from 10am - 3pm, through a big chunk of downtown LA...

CicLAvia brought out over 100,000 Southern Californians to experience the streets in a new way - on a bike, on skates, on a skateboard, on a scooter, on foot, on whatever other than a motorized vehicle. There were people playing tennis in the street, a dodgeball game, protests and rallys - heck, I even saw 4 people having a picnic in the middle of an intersection! It's already been dubbed a huge success, and the organizers are looking into multiple events for upcoming years.


Ciclovías started in Bogotá, Colombia, over thirty years ago as a response to the congestion and pollution of city streets. Now they happen throughout Latin America and the United States, connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space.


In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun.


Here's a quick look at what transpired, from my eight wheeled vantage point...


CicLAvia 10-10-10




CicLAvia 10-10-10

CicLAvia 10-10-10



CicLAvia 10-10-10

CicLAvia 10-10-10

CicLAvia 10-10-10

CicLAvia 10-10-10


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Wednesday, 06 October 2010 20:29

Featured Organization: Homeless World Cup


ASSOCIATED SPORTS: Football (Soccer)
CAUSES SERVED: Community, Homelessness, Poverty
EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Homeless World Cup exists to promote social integration through football and to create fresh, innovative strategies to end homelessness and poverty. 
Every year, the Homeless World Cup, a world-class, international football tournament unites teams of homeless players from all 5 continents of the world. The tournament has grown from 18 nations at the first Graz 2003 Homeless World Cup to 64 at the Rio 2010 Homeless World Cup in September of this year. Over 70% of players experience a significant life change – they come off drugs, alcohol, improve their health and self esteem, repair relationships, get jobs, homes, education, training, become football players, coaches and social entrepreneurs. Nearly 100,000 homeless men and women have benefited and there are now grassroots football programs working with homeless people all year round in over 70 nations. Now we are developing these football programs to provide leadership and coaching to enable more homeless people to these crucial take steps away from the streets.


It was set up by Scottish social entrepreneur Mel Young, who has pioneered fresh new solutions to the global issue of homelessness for over 15 years. Young is also the co-founder of The Big Issue Scotland and International Network of Street Papers.

Click on the photos below to see a larger image

{slimbox images/stories/hwc.1.jpg,images/stories/hwc.1.jpg,2009 Homeless World Cup - Portugal vs. Spain © Stefano Pasini 2009;images/stories/hwc.2.jpg,images/stories/hwc.2.jpg,2009 Homeless World Cup - Brazil AWARD @ Amadeo Novelli 2009;images/stories/hwc.3.jpg,images/stories/hwc.3.jpg,2009 Homeless World Cup - Ireland vs. Ghana © Gaia Squarci 2009;images/stories/hwc.4.jpg,images/stories/hwc.4.jpg,2009 Homeless World Cup - Ukraine vs. Portugal © F. Podesta 2009;images/stories/hwc.5.jpg,images/stories/hwc.5.jpg,2009 Homeless World Cup - India vs. Hong Kong © Gaia Squarci 2009;images/stories/hwc.6.jpg,images/stories/hwc.6.jpg,2009 Homeless World Cup - Italy vs. Argentina © Manuela Cigliutti 2009}


Q: What has been the Homeless World Cup’s proudest accomplishment so far?

A: The impact on the players and the growth to extend that impact across the world - 7 Homeless World Cup tournaments that have enabled nearly 100,00 homeless men and women to enjoy the benefits of football and change their lives. It has grown to unite 18 national teams of homeless players to open to 64 nations in Rio 2010 Homeless World Cup in September next year. It has triggered grassroots football programs in 70 nations working with 30,000 players all year round. It is a simple model that is easily replicated in any culture that can create a profound and significant rate of change by putting the homeless people themselves at the center of the solution. Standard change in social inclusion initiatives is approximately 30%. Here over 70% player significantly change coming of drugs and alcohol, getting jobs, homes, education, repairing relationships and self esteem, becoming leaders in their community.

Q: In what area does the Homeless World Cup need the most assistance?

A: Financially to scale up and take the benefits of football and the simple model used by the Homeless World Cup to as many people who are homeless as possible.

Q: What individual story has been the most touching?

A: There are so many. Really all the players have such courage, determination and also so much care for each other at the tournament that is creates a very powerful experience, not just for the players but spectators, media, governments, cities. Here are two fantastic stories.

Martin Afrika: South Africa
In 2008 Martin gained a place to represent South Africa at the Melbourne 2008 Homeless World Cup. He moved off the streets into a group home and stopped using drugs. Martin attributed his transformation to the hope he gained through preparing for the Homeless World Cup.

However, with no record or proof of his identity, Martin was unable to get a valid passport and visa in time to participate in Australia. He relapsed for several weeks, disappearing back onto the streets, using drugs again.
But Martin persevered. He moved back into his group home and tried out for the Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup. He finally obtained an ID and passport. No one was prouder than Martin on hearing the cheers from the crowds as he represented South Africa in Italy.


Martin plans to use his story and the power of football to change lives to help others like him come off the streets. Martin shared: “I was the biggest gangster, but I told people don’t judge me. That was my past. My future is here on the turf, nowhere else. Now that I am out of drugs, out of alcohol, I want to take something back to my community and show the children who have grown up with abuses that now is the time to change. One ball can change the world. It changed me. It can change others too.”

David Duke: Scotland
David Duke played for Scotland at the Gothenberg 2004 Homeless World Cup when he was homeless and battling issues with alcohol. It got him back into football and he decided he wanted to pursue a career in coaching, completing his Scottish Football Association coaching badges to become a certified youth coach.


David became the assistant coach for Team Scotland at the Edinburgh 2005 Homeless World Cup and rose to become manager and take Team Scotland to victory at the Copenhagen 2007 Homeless World Cup beating Poland 9-3 in a royal final watched by HRH Crown Price of Denmark. The same week David became a homeowner and collected the keys to his new home.


David is now a budding social entrepreneur having set up Street Soccer Scotland to use football to help homeless people in Scotland. It is already working with 500 homeless people providing weekly coaching sessions, a Scottish Homeless Cup and a national league due to begin in 2010.


David says: “The Homeless World Cup was the rope that allowed me to pull myself out of a very dark hole. It helped me and now I can help others. When homeless people say to me they can’t change, I say yes you can. I did. So can you."

Q: How do you get international attention? How has the attention benefited your cause?

A: Each year, the Homeless World Cup serves as an international, world-class tournament for people who are homeless, changing their lives, which creates a lot of interest in the host nation and participating nations but also within nations that do not yet have teams representing their country. This is crucial to the success of breaking down social stereotypes around homelessness, creating support, growing the impact. There are one billion homeless people and this is not currently on the agenda as a global issue to address.

Q: How does the experience of playing a team sport affect the homeless players?

A: Homeless people experience the psychological effects of exclusion, isolation. When they join their football team or training program they become part of a team, get into a training routine, a health orientated lifestyle, make friends, learn communication skills, how to win, how to lose.


Being part of the Homeless World Cup gives the homeless person something to aim for, to represent their country overseas. They share this experience with many other people who are in the same situation as them all around the world and make friends. They go from being invisible on the fringes of society where they are marginalized, to the centre of the host city where they represent their country on a global stage. Thousands of people cheer them, the media want to know their stories and they get asked for their autographs.


As a result the player now has a complete psychological shift with self-respect, self esteem, confidence and the skills to set goals and the motivation to achieve them. They return home as leaders in their community now, respected by their peers, and an inspiration to other people who are homeless to change their lives.

Q: What are your goals for the Homeless World Cup and what stands in the way of accomplishing them?

A: To take the benefits of football and the Homeless World Cup model to one million players across the world.

To support and grow the national projects in over 70 nations and to improve their effectiveness and reach.

To develop the social enterprise model so that this is a sustainable structure and foundation.

To continue to create new fresh, inventive solutions to end homelessness

To breakdown stereotypes around homelessness to change hearts and minds.

Capacity in terms of finance and resources is the main obstacle we are working to address to step change and scale up to fulfill our goals.




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For anyone in the LA area who's passionate about using sports for social change, please come by the screening for "FAIR PLAY: The World vs. Apartheid" this Sunday 10/03 @ 3pm in Pasadena. This film carries a powerful message, and you'll get a chance to meet and chat with like minded folks in the sports, nonprofit and social change space....

A new documentary by two-time Academy Award® nominee Connie Field

October 3rd, 2010 - 3:00 PM - 6:00PM
KINGSTON CAFE 333 S. Fair Oaks Ave. Pasadena, CA 91105


"Fair Play" tells the story of sport’s critical role in the struggle to create a free and equal South Africa, and provides a dramatic account of the athletes and activists worldwide who refused to play with apartheid, pushing South Africa’s teams out of international sports competitions. Calling for fairness on and off the field, citizens of all races around the world leveraged sports to bring the human rights crisis in South Africa to the forefront of global attention. Part of a powerful new series called Have You Heard From Johannesburg, Fair Play shows how sports helped bring one of the world’s most brutally repressive governments to its knees.

Come to a FREE SNEAK PEAK FILM PREVIEW, ahead of film's 2011 release!

Please RSVP by Tuesday, October 1st, 2010 by:
1. Indicating attendance via
2. By calling 626.405.8080 during business hours


A reception will take place for the We Play to Win's sports ambassadors and you, followed by the Film

Note: This event is most appropriate for adults to high schoolers.

**FEATURING a live panel discussion with We Play to Win's professional athlete-ambassadors:

*KHADEVIS “KD” ROBINSON, current 8 time USA Track & Field national champion; Olympian; Motivational speaker
*FATIMAT YUSUF-OLUKOJU, former Commonwealth and African Track & Field champion; Olympian
*TYREE WASHINGTON, former USA and world Track & Field champion; Olympian
*DR. UNA L. MORRIS, Caribbean Track & Field legend; Olympian
*Special guests in human rights and the ‘sport for social development’ movement

We Play to Win is a California public charity that uses sports as a vehicle to inspire, empower, educate and develop disadvantaged youth. Through our programs we deliver a message to all that there is a future and a HOPE, prompting people to discover and achieve their purpose and God-given potential, make positive life changes, and act to enhance the health and welfare of their communities.

The Have You Heard from Johannesburg Campaign is a partnership of Clarity Films, Active Voice and Steps International. Community partners include We Play to Win and Sport in Society - A Northeastern University Center, among others.

Major funding provided by the Ford Foundation.


You can register here:

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With the US Open heading into the later rounds, we'll stay on the tennis track to let you know about the USTA Serves program and their recent RFP for the coming year.


USTA Serves

A philanthropic initiative of the United States Tennis Association, USTA Serves - Foundation for Academics. Character. Excellence (formerly the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation) awards grants to not-for-profit organizations that support efforts in tennis and education to help disadvantaged, at-risk youth and people with disabilities.


Special consideration is given to National Junior Tennis and Learning programs and those following the "Aces for Kids" program model. The "Aces for Kids" program seeks to promote healthy lifestyles and combat childhood/adult obesity by providing disadvantaged, at-risk children the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format.


All programs requesting USTA Serves support must offer the components of tennis and education. "Education" is defined as structured activities promoting academic achievement, such as tutoring, homework assistance, computer technology, reading clubs, and mentoring. Also included as components of the education requirement are life-skills programs that focus on individual character development and the development of social skills, individual goal setting, physical fitness, and self-discipline.


Applicants must be 501(c)(3) organizations that demonstrate a commitment to the mission of "changing lives through tennis and education." Deadline for proposals is October 15, 2010


Visit the USTA Web site for complete program information

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In the lead up to the 2010 US Open, this week's Green Sports Queen feature is on one of the legends of the sport of tennis...

Tennis Time: Add Environment!

US OpenAs a New Yorker, tennis fan, and tennis player, it's impossible for me not to love this time of year. It's when the Flushing-bound 7 train becomes my best friend. It's when getting home at 2am is a great thing because it means I caught a great match. Yep, it's finally's US Open time baby!!!

Even though I'm living across the country and going to experience the action for the first time in as long as I can remember entirely on TV, I still have the same tennis fever!

With the rankings set and only three days to go until the Open officially begins, it should come as know surprise that this week's Green Gladiator comes from the tennis world. I actually can't think of a better fit considering she has been instrumental in greening the US Open and the Open's home is even named after her! For those non-tennis fans out there, let me be more specific, this week's Green Gladiator is the tennis legend, Billie Jean King!

Billie Jean King is arguably the best female tennis player to ever play and has a tremendous amount of respect around the world. Although I admire her athletic ability, I'm also a big Billie Jean fan because of her environmental work. She understands the power of sports and uses that platform to "win back our planet!"

Billie Jean KingIn 2007, she, along with Ilana Kloss, Pam Derderian and Nancy Becker, developed the GreenSlam initiative. GreenSlam's mission is to use the power of sports to inspire socially responsible change that has positive environmental impacts.

Through programs like the GreenSlam/GreenTernship program and their partnership with the NRDC, GreenSlam is already making a difference!

Billie Jean King's work doesn't stop there. She is the ambassador for the United States Tennis Association's environmental efforts, and helped launch the US Open's comprehensive "green" initiatives two years ago. The initiatives aim to get all the athletes and fans to reduce, reuse, recycle and to turn the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world in the most environmentally conscious. I like it!!

She has also done a ton of PSA's with the USTA and the NRDC that focus on the environment because what better way to bring about real change than through a professional athlete? Here is one of the videos!

Billie Jean King has proven that she isn't just a tennis champion, she is also a champion for the planet. She without a doubt deserves to be this week's Green Gladiator!

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I know I'm about to stir the pot on the long running "New York vs. Boston" rivalry, but here goes...

NESN.comThe New England Sports Network (NESN) announced today the premiere of a new show titled "After The Game," which features "the personal homes, lives, and philanthropic efforts of New England’s beloved athletes." The show debuts Labor Day weekend, with an inside look at the off-the-field activities of Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield and the charitable causes he supports - Space Coast Early Intervention Center and Pitching in for Kids.

Future episodes will highlight other well-known Boston/New England stars including David Ortiz (Red Sox), Bode Miller (US Ski Team), Patrice Bergeron (Bruins), Kristine Lilly (Breakers) and Doug Flutie (BC & Patriots). 

The show also has the support of Hess, a regional gas/convenience store chain, who is donating $5,000 to each athlete's featured charity, and sponsoring an online contest where viewers can vote for their favorite athlete's charity to receive an additional $25,000.

Now, here's the fun part ;-)...

Ok, New York, what are you going to do about this???
That's right - I'm talking to you, YES Network, MSG and Sports Net NY!
Are you going to be shown up by Boston once again?!

It's bad enough losing to them on the field, but now they're showing how much their athletes give back, and we're left watching how much the Mets give up.

Seriously though, it really is great to see a major regional sports network like NESN provide some great causes with a chance to get on air. This is exactly what we need to see more of in the sports world - less of athlete's trials and tribulations with gun possession, substance abuse or offensive social commentary, and more about how they're finding ways to contribute to those in need.

After The Game on NESNSo once again, Boston has thrown down the gauntlet to you, NY. It's time to step up and show them how "wicked-awesome" your athletes are at giving back. I'll be surfing the channels soon, looking for the premiere of "Big Hearts in the Big Apple," featuring Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation. Don't let me down!

To learn more about After The Game and the athletes and charities featured on the show, visit, or follow @afterthegametv on Twitter.

(Full disclosure: I was born & raised in New Jersey, and we lay claim to both NFL teams - which New Yorkers hate to admit - the better of the 3 area NHL teams, and we're about to ship out the worst NBA team to -- that's right, you guessed it -- New York ;-)

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Now that “LeBron-watch 2010” is finally over, the analysis of whether “The Decision” – the ESPN broadcast of James’ announcement, selecting the Miami Heat as his new team – has generated as much of a media frenzy as the actual show itself. At the heart of much of the debate is whether donating advertising proceeds to charities – in this case, Boys & Girls Clubs of America - was a wise move, a strategic move, or simply a “feel-good” moment to take some of the megalomaniacal gloss off the entire event.

AdAge, one of the top trade pubs in the ad space, ran a good piece on the background behind how the entire show came about, including some insights into the future of “advertiser content programming.”  But what’s most interesting to me is the open dialogue beneath the article, where industry folks (the people who read adage are primarily marketing, advertising and creative professionals…) have hashed it out, and are critical of the attempts at highlighting the cause marketing aspects of the event.

A few samples:

“ESPN and LeBron and his *entourage* used a charity angle to mask a business decision by an athlete that would screw his hometown fans. But hey, it was for kids so it's okay, says the agent.”

“Now, in the 21st Century feel free to substitute the name "JaMEs", and you can buy tickets watching Narcissus gazing at himself through Emanuel exclusively on ESPN. And its OK to spend freely - 'cause its for charity.”

“Had they truly wanted to benefit charities, take the combined man hours and $ spent on this "event" and donate to the charity of your choice. Once again, the charity becomes the "enabler" of over-hyped solipsists.”

LeBron James

Not to be taken completely out of context, I encourage you to read the article and the subsequent comments.

My initial take on this was much the same as everyone’s – a self-serving, unnecessary spectacle. The charity angle did soften it a bit for me, but I’m also one to agree that while the cash donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs and the support from the Univ of Phoenix was a nice gesture, it was merely that – a gesture. Neither really addresses the need for ongoing support in the local community.

And let’s not forget the Boys & Girls Clubs are still being investigated for paying their CEO close to $1m in compensation, while taking government money and closing facilities.

Time will tell if “The Decision” was truly the right one or not, regardless of how many championship banners fly in South Beach.

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From a recent post on Philanthropy News Digest...


Communities Creating Healthy Environments is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aims to prevent childhood obesity by increasing access to healthy foods and safe places to play in communities of color. The program is designed to advance RWJF's efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015 by supporting diverse, community-based organizations and federally chartered tribal nations in the development and implementation of effective, culturally competent policy initiatives to address childhood obesity at the local level.


Eligible applicants must have a track record of at least two years of successful community organizing and policy advocacy to address health-related problems in communities of color. Both the leadership and membership or constituencies of any applicant organization should reflect the communities they seek to serve. Youth-led organizing groups and community-based groups with youth-organizing components are strongly encouraged to apply.


Applicants must secure a cash match of at least 10 percent of RWJF funding for the grant period. Organizations that currently receive funding from an entity or subsidiary that markets low-nutrition food and/or beverage products to youth are not eligible to apply.


Awards will be up to $250,000 per site for up to ten communities nationwide. Grants are for a three-year period scheduled to commence in October 2010.


Deadline is February 25, 2010


To complete the RFP for this grant click here

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Monday, 18 January 2010 18:53

Welcome to!

Welcome! was created to provide a central point of information, news and resources for the sports non-profit sector, serving both the sports industry professional who's looking to include cause marketing in their programming, and the casual sports fan who's interested in supporting a favorite sport, athlete or team.

We encourage you to check out all the sections of the site and send us your comments and suggestions.

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