Reflecting on Year One of Sport for Good NYC
It’s been one year since we launched Sport for Good New York City with our founding partner, Nike. Our New York City Program Officer, Ben Schornack, discusses the impact we’ve made so far and what lies ahead for this collective impact initiative.
At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, our founding patron Nelson Mandela declared that, “Sport has the power to change the world.” United by Mandela’s vision for positive change, athletes and corporations came together to found the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Nearly 18 years after Mandela’s speech, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA gathered the youth sports community of New York City to launch Sport for Good NYC. With the support of our founding partner, NIKE, and support from the Harris Foundation, we launched this initiative with the same vision that Mandela set for us: that sport has the power to change our city. To fully unleash this power, we are working together with a diverse range of organizations who are committed to creating positive opportunities for youth in this city.
Laureus USA plays the backbone role in this collective impact initiative, providing resources, uniting stakeholders and facilitating collaboration at the local level. We know that these changes do not occur quickly, and we view our role as being a propeller of change through investment in local leaders and community. Over the past year, we’ve worked to build the structure and scaffolding needed to support a movement by investing in three key bodies: organizations, individuals, and local leadership.
Investment in Organizations
In 2018, Laureus USA made capacity-building grants to eight NYC-based nonprofit organizations that are using various sports to positively impact youth. These organizations leveraged Laureus’ investment to start new programs, strengthen existing programs, and support key infrastructure that allows them to measure impact and strategy. Throughout the year, Laureus’ grant partners supported nearly 4,000 youth across all five boroughs of NYC. Youth participating in Laureus-funded organizations showed improvements in social-emotional learning, physical fitness, and academic performance.
Investment in Individuals
Alongside Sport for Good NYC, Laureus USA launched the Sport for Good League. The League is an association for people who believe that sport has the power to change the world. From volunteer coaches, to P.E. teachers, to Executive Directors of NPOs, we believe that everybody has a role to play in reimagining youth sports as a force for social change. Through League membership, practitioners gain access to low-cost trainings, networking events, and communication with other practitioners throughout the country. In the past year, more than 370 people nationwide have joined The League. Locally, membership is made up of 120 NYC-based individuals representing more than 50 organizations. They participated in more than 20 events throughout the year including CPR/first aid training, community networking events, and professional developments conducted by community leaders and experts.
Investment in Local Leadership
To ensure balance of power and shared decision-making, we’ve organized a local Leadership Council. Over the past year, our Sport for Good NYC Leadership Council made up of eight individuals has convened for more than 30 hours. The Leadership Council has worked to guide local events, drive membership and collaboration, and work alongside Laureus to develop key benchmarks and goals for the sector of Sport for Good. The Leadership Council’s biggest event of the year occurred in December, where they coordinated the first of a series of roundtable events to identify the strategic priorities and needs within the sector.
Through these key investments, we’ve been able to build capacity in the sector to create stronger practitioners and organizations, which we believe leads to more impactful programming for the young people in our communities. As we move into 2019, we’re excited about the opportunity that we have to continue building this capacity, while also extending our reach into the larger ecosystem of youth sports to ensure that every child in New York City has opportunity and access to affordable, youth-centered sports programming. We hope that you’ll join us on the Sport for Good League!