Sports and Social Change
Monday, 05 January 2015 00:00

Happy 2015! Our New Year's Message

Happy 2015! Looking forward to taking some big steps with all of you in the year ahead...


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Open Office HoursOver the past two years as the holiday season ramps up, I've been thrilled to join in the #GivingTuesday movement. Launched in 2012 as a national day of giving back, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become a tidal wave of donations, volunteer hours, "unselfies" and all-around good karma. And this year is no different, as there are literally tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations and social enterprise companies who are on board to make 2014 the biggest #GivingTuesday yet.

This year, my contribution is something very valuable: Time. Starting today I'm kicking off a brand new service called Open Office Hours, a completely FREE one-on-one 45 min brainstorming session to offer insights and ideas to give your organization, foundation, social enterprise brand or idea some positive momentum.

Over the past 5 years, I've met and spoken with hundreds of nonprofit leaders in the sports community, and I know there are a myriad of daily challenges your organizations face. So bring me your toughest questions about marketing, public relations, social media, finding corporate partners, engaging with professional athletes & teams, or we can simply brainstorm on a new idea. And just like everything else on this site, this service is free. No catch, no hidden agenda. As I've said from day one, my goal is to strengthen and support the nonprofit organizations in the sports community through whatever means possible. And I want to see every organization better equipped when it comes to marketing.

All you have to do is visit my calendar HERE to review the available days/times and then select whatever is most convenient for you. Each week will be different, so make sure you bookmark this calendar page and check back often to find a day & time that works for you.

Once you click on the time you want, submit your name and email address and you'll get a confirmation message with the details. We'll hop on Skype or Google Hangout (or via phone if you're too camera shy ;-) for our conversation. And if you're a bit too overloaded during December, fear not - Open Office Hours will be an ongoing initiative in 2015. Just check the calendar each week to see the open days/times.

Happy #GivingTuesday everyone!

John Stockton gave 15,806 assists.
Wayne Gretzky gave 1,963 assists.
Can you #GiveAnAssist on #GivingTuesday?


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Thursday, 27 November 2014 22:15

6 Ways to #GiveAnAssist on #GivingTuesday



Hey Sports Fans!

An assist is the ultimate unselfish play to help your team.
They can be pretty, they can be gritty.
And when the final buzzer sounds, everyone wins when you Give An Assist.

We've all marveled at a John Stockton no-look, behind the back pass or a Wayne Gretzky feed from behind the net. And now it's your turn...

This holiday season, we're calling on you to "Give An Assist" to those in need. We figured the best way to do that is to provide a little bit of coaching and gameplan. Whatever your favorite sport, team, athlete might be, we've come up with a few suggestions on how you can "Give An Assist" not only during the holidays but also throughout the entire year.

So let's get started!




"Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates."
~ Magic Johnson


Find a Nonprofit Sports Program in your Area


Right here on we have a huge database of nonprofit sports organizations that you can connect with. Use our tools to search by Sport, by Cause or by State/Province and find a program that interests you. Every profile page has background information on the program, contact info and a link to their site. Find a program that inspires you and reach out to find out how you can support their mission.

CLICK HERE to search the Directory


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Giving Warriors PodcastI was recently interviewed on the Giving Warriors podcast which features stories about social entrepreneurs from around the world. Hosted by the ever curious and always entertaining Dominique Silverman, we dove into a range of topics around sports, nonprofits and the recent emergence of social enterprise sports brands.

Giving Warriors is "a series of podcasts that keeps you up-to-date on the latest solutions to today’s humanitarian needs. We 'meet' via the podcast on the Giving Warrior website, and connect with leaders who are passionate about creating positive change. You’ll hear interviews with the people whose work spans diverse fields, to help their fellow men."

Thanks to Dominique and the Giving Warriors team for the opportunity to share all that's going on with social enterprise in the sports world!

To listen to the full interview, visit the Giving Warriors podcast page and subscribe on iTunes at

I'm featured in Episode GW033 (released on 10/25/14).

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Ivy Sports SymposiumThe annual Ivy Sports Symposium (Friday, Nov 14 in Princeton, NJ) has quickly become one of the top sports business events of the year, and the 2014 event has some great sessions on topics at the intersection of sports business and causes. The "Sport for Social Impact: Shared Value" panel features several thought leaders in the growing Sport for Development space including Nick Gates (Coaches Across Continents), Todd Smith (Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group) and Ethan Zohn (Grassroot Soccer). Later in the day, the ever-prevalent topic of diversity takes center stage with Wade Davis (You Can Play), Claude Johnson (Black Fives Foundation) and Kevin Carr (PRO2CEO) at the "Diversity in Sport: Leveling the Playing Field" session.

The day is filled with sessions that span the sports business landscape, and feature several very high profile industry leaders including:

  • Jérôme de Chaunac, Global COO, Havas Sports & Entertainment
  • Brett Clarke, Global Head, Business Development and Marketing Partnerships, Nitro Circus
  • Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner, National Hockey League
  • Bill Duffy, COO, The Aspire Group
  • Troy Ewanchyna, VP, Business Development & Digital Strategies, NBC Sports Group
  • Donald Fehr, Executive Director, NHL Players' Association
  • Greg Luckman, Global Head, Consulting, CAA Sports
  • Pat O'Conner, President & CEO, Minor League Baseball
  • Scott O’Neil, CEO, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils & Prudential Center
  • Phil de Picciotto, Co-Founder & President, Octagon
  • Marc Reeves, International Commercial Director, NFL
  • Rick Shapiro, Senior Executive, MLB Players Association
  • David Sternberg, Head, Media, Manchester United
  • Sam Walker, Global Sports Editor, The Wall Street Journal
  • Mark Wilf, Owner & President, Minnesota Vikings


The full schedule of events and registration information can be found at


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Coaches Across Continents, One World Futbol and Chevrolet FC

The Beyond Sports Summit wrapped up last week in South Africa, with a host of new award winners in Sport and Development, including the global collaboration of NGO Coaches Across Continents, social enterprise brand One World Futbol and heavyweight auto brand Chevrolet. The "WhatDoYou #PlayFor" campaign has become a big part of Chevy's global branding around soccer and effectively leveraged through their relationship with perenial powerhouse Premier League club Manchester United.

Chevrolet was duly recognized for their efforts, winning the Corporate of the Year award, with CAC's co-founder Nick Gates receiving the award on the brand's behalf. “I am humbled and honored to have witnessed CAC’s rapid growth and positive social impact over the last six years," Gates said. "We are excited about the continued potential of this partnership with Chevrolet and this award will allow us to provide more communities with the knowledge and resources to use sport for social change.”

Now that's driving change, literally.

Read the full story at

See the full list of Beyond Sport Award winners at

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DisAbility Sports Festival

As the Paralympic movement continues to build here in the US - thanks in large part to increased exposure via the web and social media, and the success of team USA athletes at the recent Winter Paralympic games in Sochi - there's a rapidly growing interest in adaptive sports. But for many people with disabilities, finding a sport they can play is the first step and often times the most challenging. If someone is interested in playing wheelchair rugby, just showing up at a local park expecting to find 9 other wheelchair athletes and an open game is not going to happen anywhere.

That was a big part of the goal behind the creation of the DisAbility Sports Festival. Started eight years ago at California State University San Bernardino by Kinesiology Professor Dr. Aaron Moffett, the 2014 event was held on Saturday October 18th, drawing over 700 athletes from 6 different states. The event is designed to introduce a wide range of sports for people with all types of disabilities. What began as a small local event has now grown into the largest cross-disability sports event in the Western US, with over 20 different sports and activities offered in one day, including Swimming, Soccer, Tennis, Sitting Volleyball, Judo, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby, Archery, Kayaking, Golf, Goalball and many others.

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Google Olympic DoodleEarlier this year, we presented a great opportunity for Nonprofit Sports Orgs to get a big boost for their Search Engine Marketing through the Google AdWords platform and Ad Grants program. Our friends at Elite SEM - one of the premiere Search Engine Marketing firms in the country - were willing to take on the challenge of guiding a Nonprofit through the AdWords universe, helping to set-up and manage keywords, tracking click-thrus and conversions and offering several "best practices" to keep them on-track. The Google Ad Grants program provides $10,000 per month for Nonprofits to spend on AdWords, which can be a hugely impactful tool for driving traffic, attracting donors and volunteers, or raising awareness around critical issues for Nonprofit Orgs.

After reviewing multiple applicants in the spring, Coaches Across Continents was selected to receive a 5 month pro-bono consulting package. Coaches Across Continents (CAC) uses Soccer as a platform for life skills education, focusing on local social issues such as female empowerment and gender equity; conflict resolution, social inclusion, health and wellness. With programs running in 21 countries around the world CAC reaches more than 170,000 children ever year through their international network of coaches and community partners.

I checked in with both Elite SEM and Coaches Across Continents to get an update on what's transpired over the past few months, and how the work has impacted CAC's AdWords campaigns. Here are some of the highlights and comments...



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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...



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I was asked by freelance writer Curtis Silver to offer some thoughts on the broader topic of the NFL's handling of domestic abuse by players. Curtis' piece ran on Linkedin with a quote from me, but I thought I'd share all of my thoughts here. There are many issues at hand, including how the league has handled the Ray Rice situation from the start, and I've been looking at the bigger picture here. Maybe you agree, maybe you don't. That's what's great about the forum we have today - the ability to discuss these issues...

NFL FootballIt appears there is a larger issue at hand, and a lot of folks are starting to point to it - the NFL way too lenient in disciplining players for off the field incidents, especially around violence. There is a long list of documented domestic violence and abuse cases involving NFL players and women (girlfriends, spouses, even mothers) and the lack of any significant discipline until Rice's indefinite suspension points to an attitude of indifference, hoping the problems will just go away or assuming they'll move past them quick enough that they won't tarnish the league's image. This piece does a great job of summarizing all of the previous incidents around domestic violence:

In many of these cases, there were no formal charges filed, and the league might try to use that as justification for not penalizing the player with fines & suspensions. However those who deal with domestic violence will attest to the fact that charges aren't always filed, and in many situations the issue is never reported in the first place. There are over 50 documented cases involving NFL players since 2006; no one knows how many were never reported. Maybe only a few. Maybe a lot more.

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