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College football has dominated the sports news recently - and not for all the right reasons. The "imaginary dead girlfriend hoax" story quickly became tabloid front-page fodder and the lead-in for almost every sports talk radio show. Even the impressive feat of Alabama's back-to-back National Championships - and third in four years - seems as if it happened a decade ago. But for many young men who recently finished their college football playing days, what stands before them is not imaginary at all - a real shot at an NFL career. And that begins with the opportunity to showcase their talents, commitment and their character in front of NFL scouts.

The NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl brought 100 college football players to the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA (home of the MLS Cup winning LA Galaxy, speaking of back-to-back championships...), split into two teams of 50 - American Vs. National - each coached by a staff of former NFLers. Legendary Eagles & Rams head coach Dick Vermeil led one side, while his own former player with the Eagles and past head coach of the Jets & Chiefs, Herm Edwards, took the reigns of the other. And while the game was created to give the players exposure to NFL teams, a big part of the week is creating the real-world experience of preparing in an NFL setting.

“The NFL Players Association wants this to be more than just a game, they want it to be a NFL educational experience,” said Coach Vermeil. “This will be these players’ first introduction to the National Football League without the pressure of making a team in training camp. By the time they are drafted and go to training camp they will have an understanding of what’s expected of them, having worked with NFL coaches and players for a week.”

The NFLPA is very aware that life for a pro football player also happens off the field. Along with the skills and drills during the prep week, community outreach was also a part of the training for these 100 young men. On the Friday before the game, the National team left the practice field and headed out to Rogers Middle School in Long Beach, CA to hold a fitness clinic and teach kids about the benefits of physical activity, healthy eating and taking care of their body.

I followed the American team out to Lynwood, CA, a small, working class community south of Metro Los Angeles, bordering on Compton and South Gate. Their mission? To help Habitat For Humanity renovate a home for family in need.

Since 1990, Habitat For Humanity has built or renovated over 800 homes around the world through volunteer labor and donations. And to provide some perspective on what the organization does and the impact it has on people's lives, they brought one of their clients in LA to address the players beforehand. Her message of what it meant to have a "home" for her family truly resonated with everyone.

After a quick intro from the project leaders and getting fitted for hard hats, the guys were hard at work. On-field rivals in the NCAA just a few weeks ago were now working side by side to build a backyard fence, haul scrap metal, and paint walls.

And while everyone was doing their part, one player in particular really stood out. Templeton Hardy, an Offensive Lineman from Mississippi State, took charge of the cement mixer and spent his 90 minutes lifting, pouring, mixing, sweating, working and hustling - all traits a NFL scout would love to see. And when the final whistle blew on their visit, he simply chugged a cup of water and quietly walked to the bus; exhausted, but a job well done.

These young men won't be first round draft picks. Some may not be drafted at all. But in one afternoon, they were all taught a quick lesson on what it means help others in need. And as they begin their careers - be it on a football field or off - they now have a better understanding of not only what it takes to be a professional, but what it means to be a teammate, a neighbor, and a member of the community. Lessons they'll hopefully carry with them for years to come.

Check out some of our photos from the "build day" below. For the full gallery, visit us on Facebook


JJ Swain (Northern Iowa) working at the Habitat For Humanity Build Day


Templeton Hardy (Mississippi State) working at the Habitat for Humanity build day

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Fans Against Violence



ASSOCIATED SPORTS: Baseball, Basketball, Football (American), Football (Soccer), Ice Hockey, Rugby, Lacrosse
CAUSES SERVED: Community, Peace
EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Violence: The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation. (as defined by the World Health Organization)


The physical nature of contact sports like football, hockey, rugby, lacrosse is often highlighted in the media and highly revered by many. And the players on the field or in the arena fully accept that it's a part of the game they choose to play. But for sports fans at the stadium, there's been a disturbing trend - physical violence in the stands, fan against fan. While "trash-talking" has always been a part of rivalries both on and off the field, the escalation of insults turning into fisticuffs has reached a point where personal safety is now a valid concern. What were once isolated incidents have become far too commonplace. And people like Kathy Samoun have had enough.

Kathy is the founder and executive director of Fans Against Violence, a nonprofit dedicated to elimiating fan-on-fan violence, with a mission to "encourage fan safety at professional sporting events through education, discussion and partnerships with like-minded organizations." Kathy and the FAV team have quickly become the leading voice on this issue, and through in-stadium initiatives like the "FanShake" they're helping sports fans enjoy a safe, fun day at the ballpark.

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Wishing all a very happy new year - may 2013 be filled with many mistakes!


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We're honored to be a part of Conscience Cocktails, one of Los Angeles' top philanthropy event series. Every other month, Conscience Cocktails brings together Los Angeles top young professionals from across all industries and business sectors who share a passion for giving back. Each event showcases a different nonprofit organization and serves a fundraising opportunity. Conscience Cocktails is 100% volunteer run and all proceeds from the events benefit the highlighted nonprofit.

Join us in December as we celebrate the holidays and feature The Seany Foundation!

Inspired by the life of Sean Lewis Robbins, The Seany Foundation is dedicated to funding research to help find cures for pediatric cancers and to improving the quality of life for children, teens, and young adults battling cancer. For more information, visit

Conscience Cocktails Charity Mixer presents The Seany Foundation
Wednesday, December 5, 2012  7pm - 10:30pm
Daniel Matlzman Gallery
268 N. Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
$50.00 incl. Open Bar, Food Stations & Tray Passed Appetizers, Live Music + DJ
Silent Auction & Raffle to be held.

To RSVP and purchase tickets (past events have sold out!) please visit:

For more information on future events visit


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Tuesday, 13 November 2012 23:29

#GivingTuesday and the Power of the Assist

Give an assist this holiday season and everyone scores!

We have a day for giving thanks.
We have two for getting deals.
This year, help create #GivingTuesday - a new day for giving back.





On Tuesday November 27, 2012, global charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more will come together to create #GivingTuesday.

Sports and Social Change has signed on as a partner with #GivingTuesday to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season on a national day dedicated to nonprofits after Cyber Monday. The movement’s partners include global brands Unilever, Microsoft, Skype, JC Penney, Cisco and national organizations such as United Nations Foundation, Do Something, 92nd St Y, American Cancer Society, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, American Red Cross, CARE, Oxfam as well as and and hundreds of other cause related programs.

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Early in the week, we as a nation saw the conclusion of a rather bitter and divisive election cycle. But this Sunday, we bring the week to a close with a welcome sight: Veteran’s Day. A day to put aside political differences and show appreciation and gratitude to the thousands of men and women who’ve served in the US Armed Forces, Veteran’s Day holds a significant place in the sports world. There are dozens of nonprofit organizations providing sports programs and services for disabled veterans, most of whom suffered their injuries while protecting this nation and our freedom.

We wanted to show our support for these programs and our military veterans, so we asked Fred Brattain, CEO of The Disabled Golfer’s Learning Foundation and a Vietnam veteran, to share his thoughts on the value and impact of sports programming for disabled veterans.

We encourage everyone to find a way to recognize what a tremendous sacrifice our Military service members and their families make to ensure our freedom and safety.

Several months ago, The Disabled Golfer’s Learning Foundation was conducting a clinic at Diamond Valley in Hemet, CA. One of the veterans we were working with suffers from severe PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). His issues are such that he typically could not handle having anyone within about 4 feet of him without getting very uncomfortable.

Understanding his condition, I worked with him at a respectful distance while we were on the driving range. We always go out and play 9 holes with our veterans after the clinic, using a scramble format so that everyone gets to play without any pressure to do things right. One of the things that’s critical to understand is it takes a lot of courage for any disabled person to show up in public at any venue and say, “I want to play.”

Four holes into our golf outing, this young man walked over and put his arm around me. I was flabbergasted, and then moved almost to tears as he stood there with his arm draped across my shoulders, looking off into the distance - we call it “the thousand yard stare” - and said, “This is the first time in FOUR YEARS I haven’t heard the voices in my head.”

A few months later, Board member Joni Collins and I were running a golf clinic at the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, CA. I was working with a group of hospitalized veterans, most of whom were wheelchair-bound, either permanently or while recovering from their procedures. I glanced over at Joni, who was standing off to the side chatting with a woman. They were both crying. I walked over and asked, “What’s wrong?” Joni, through her tears said, “NOTHING.”

I later found out one of the men I’d been teaching had been told the night before he would never walk again, never work again, and that his life as he knew it was gone. He subsequently told his wife - the lady with whom Joni was chatting - that he was going to take his own life.

The head recreational therapist at the VA Hospital, Aaron Hunt, had basically kidnapped this veteran and dragged him in his chair out to our golf clinic. I knew none of this when we were working together. And when we finished our clinic, he’d gone over to his wife with a smile on his face, looked at her and said, “I CAN DO THIS!” The game of golf had just saved this man’s life.

As we work with the disabled veteran community throughout Southern California and beyond, these are the experience we have on a regular basis. Other organizations we partner with at times have dozens of similar stories to tell. Sports, when approached properly, have a healing power that few other activities can match.

Veterans are people who are used to doing for themselves; they are used to being competent; they are used to being not just good, but GREAT at what they do. After all, these are the men and women who have gone into harm’s way for us here at home; who have put the good of the US ahead of their own welfare; and who “stand ready in the darkness” for us. WE CAN NEVER SAY THANK YOU LOUD ENOUGH.

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For anyone in the SoCal area, we'll be part of a panel discussion on "Sports Publicity" at the upcoming Entertainment Publicists Professional Society meeting. EPPS is the leading publicity and PR organization in the Entertainment industry, and they've lined up some awesome speakers. Joining me on the panel will be Los Angeles Kings (reigning Stanley Cup Champion, Los Angeles Kings, that is...) VP of Communications Mike Altieri, ESPN 710 Senior Executive Producer David Singer, and Mark Pollick, Founder of The Giving Back Fund along with other sports industry experts. This should be a great discussion, as we have plenty of sports publicity stories from this year to discuss including Lance Armstrong, Olympics/Paralympics, NHL lockout, and much more.

Come join us! Details to follow...






Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS) in Partnership with ICG Publicists of Local 600, IATSE presents:

SPORTS PUBLICITY - A Panel Discussion with Sports Industry Professionals

Sports publicity is a specialty that calls for a skill set that addresses the specific goals of athletes and their teams. Like all celebrities, athletes are admired by fans in the U.S. and, often, other parts of the world, but they are also carefully crafted brands that have a responsibility to uphold their own image as well as that of their team, their sport and, in many cases, their sponsors. The panel includes PR professionals who work in tandem with individual athletes, their teams, charity-tie-ins and commercial sponsors. Details at


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As the month of October slowly winds down, and the "pink blanket" that's enveloped the country gets neatly folded up and tucked away until next year, we thought this would be a good time to look at some of the cause marketing initiatives that have been in full effect through the sports world. The issue of Breast Cancer has been front and center for several weeks and along with the millions of dollars raised to fight the disease and find a cure, there have also been significant efforts by many nonprofit organizations and for-profit brands/partners to raise awareness and encourage screenings, mammograms and other early detection methods that can be life saving.

A big part of the fundraising push during "Pinktober" is cause marketing partnerships with a range of donation mechanisms in place. Some are donations triggered by a purchase, some are corporate contributions supported by an additional percentage of funds raised through retail, and some are "net proceeds," while others can be even harder to measure or quantify. What's paramount for all parties involved - nonprofit, manufacturer and retailer - is following some of the basic principles of cause marketing: Authenticity, Responsibility and Transparency. This is where the relationship with the consumer is won or lost. And the loss can be more than just a missed sales opportunity - we're talking about a consumer's trust in the brand.

We've seen some well-executed cause marketing campaigns in the sports business this October, with manufacturers, retailers, athletes and leagues all doing their part and doing it right. And we've also seen a few campaigns that were well-intentioned, but were missing the key element of being fully transparent with the consumer about how much was being raised, or even worse, misleading the consumer to buy something that actually had no tie-in to breast cancer awareness at all. Lessons to be learned here for all involved.

Let's start with our Prize Winning Pink Champions...

Asics + Right Action for Women

Asics teamed up with actress Christina Applegate to support her Right Action for Women campaign through the sale of several products including a running sneaker, sports bra, headbands, and reversible kneepads, ranging in price from $16 to $100. What made this campaign stand out to us was Asics full transparency about their financial commitment at the beginning of the month.

Their press release stated "a minimum donation of $75,000, and up to $100,000 total, to Applegate’s organization from the sale of the new ASICS Right Action for Women Collection." There’s no question as to what their commitment level is, which gives consumers a clear message about the brand's stance on this issue as well as how they want to be perceived in the athletic footwear/apparel space. Kudos Asics.

NFL + American Cancer Society


For NFL fans, the 2012 A Crucial Catch partnership with the American Cancer Society has included on-field visits by breast cancer survivors, online auctions of game-used pink merchandise and a wave of support from league's corporate partners Tide, Ticketmaster, EA Sports, Gatorade and Pepsi, and licensee partners including New Era, Under Armor, Nike, Ridell and Wilson.

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2012 will likely go down as the year disabled sports moved from the backstage to the mainstage in the grand arena of sport. The overwhelming success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games this summer was the coming out party for some of the greatest athletes most had never seen. Record attendance, sold-out venues, thousands of hours of events streamed live over the web, royalty in the stands, world records shattered, all wrapped up in iconic style with a concert from one of rock's biggest acts, these games showcased "ability" over disability.

But once the lights went out at the venues in London and the highlights faded into the vast content pool of YouTube, questions emerged... How does someone who's disabled get involved in sports? Where does a man inspired by Oscar Pistorius go to learn about Track & Field for amputees? Where does a parent with a disabled child turn to get their son/daughter involved in Wheelchair Basketball? Where does a blind woman go to learn about Goalball?

Aaron Moffet, Kinesiology Professor at California State University San Bernardino, knew that without the opportunity to try a sport first-hand, many disabled kids and adults might never get the chance and would miss out on all the benefits sports has to offer. And so, the DisAbility Sports Festival was born. Held this past Saturday, Oct 6th, this free, annual event is now in its 6th year, and is a showcase of sports and recreational opportunities for people living with all types of disabilities, attracting over 3,000 people from across Southern California.

What makes this event unique are the opportunities for attendees to try over 20 different sports and activities available for the disabled, including Wheelchair sports like Rugby, Basketball & Tennis, as well as Archery, Golf, Swimming, Martial Arts, Dance, Kayaking, Soccer, Discus, Shot Put, Javelin, Sitting Volleyball and Goalball.


Also on hand this year were a trio of US Paralympians who spent time talking with prospective athletes and their families, giving tips and playing alongside future Paralympians: 2012 Sitting Volleyball Silver medalist Kari Miller, a US Army veteran who you might recognize from a Citibank TV spot that ran during the Olympic games; 2012 Discus Bronze medalist Angela Madsen, who also holds 6 Guiness World Records for Rowing and is the World Record holder for shot put and American Record holder in javelin; and sprinter Katy Sullivan, an actress and the first bilateral above-the-knee amputee to compete in International Track & Field and American Record holder in the 100m.

One young boy, a single leg amputee, and his parents were talking with Katy Sullivan about sports. Katy asked him what sports he plays, and his response was simple: "Video games." She smiled, shook her head and encouraged him to try some of the sports that day and find what he liked the most. His mom responded, "that's exactly why we're here today - to show him there are lots of sports he can play." And maybe one day we'll all be watching him run for gold in the Paralympics. Or maybe he'll just find a sport where he feels he can belong.

Check out more of our photos from the 2012 DisAbility Sports Fesitval on Facebook...

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We're honored to be a part of Conscience Cocktails, one of Los Angeles' top philanthropy event series. The team at Conscience Entertainment has done an amazing job bringing together the LA philanthropy community and introducing everyone to some amazing causes. Their upcoming event on Oct 3rd in Westwood, CA shines a light on Fight To Live. Here are the details...

Conscience Cocktails Charity Mixer presents Fight to Live
Wednesday, October 3, 2012  7pm - 10:30pm
X bar | Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
2025 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Conscience Cocktails is proud to announce they are partnering with Fight to Live for an evening of socializing on Wednesday, October 3rd at the X bar in Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Join us from 7pm – 10:30pm as we bring together like-minded people, great food and cocktails while we raise money and awareness for Fight to Live.

This special evening will include:
• Appetizer Stations from 7pm – 8pm
• Drink and Food Specials all Evening
• Live DJ
• Raffle
• Body Art by Star Oakland
• Business Cocktail Attire requested

About Fight to Live:
Fight to Live is about saving lives - possibly saving your life, or the life of someone you love. With one in two men and one in three women being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, not including the possibility of being diagnosed with other deadly diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimers, most of us will be looking for a way to beat a deadly disease to live a long and fulfilled life. The Fight to Live Coalition is an effort to bring public awareness and drive FDA reform so that the current advancements in medicine will be available when you need them. Fight to Live is currently calling for support of the Patient Choice Act of 2012, (H.R.6288) that brings earlier access, safely, to promising new treatments that could potentially save thousands of lives. With the right reform, patients should be able to make an informed choice with their physicians when fighting a terminal disease.

Join the Fight to Live by following them on Facebook at and on Twitter at Meet, discuss and be heard.

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