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Sports and Social Change


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Associated Sports
Causes Served

MLSE FoundationMLSE Foundation


ASSOCIATED SPORTS: Basketball, Football (Soccer), Ice Hockey
CAUSES SERVED: Athletics, Children & Youth, Community, Health
AGE GROUPS SERVED: Children & Youth
EMAIL: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
WEBSITE: http://www.mlsefoundation.org

In professional sports, it’s become standard practice for teams to create a foundation that supports local initiatives, from youth sports to education, to health programs and community improvement projects. There’s a delicate balance to be struck in offering support to a wide range of important local programs while also meeting the needs of league-wide initiatives.

Add to that dynamic being in the largest and most populous city in your country, with an extremely diverse cultural and ethnic community, and a rich sports history dating back to the late 1800’s, and you have the setting for the day-to-day operations of the MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) Foundation. Supporting four major professional sports teams – Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, Toronto Marlies - across three different sports (hockey, basketball & soccer) is a unique challenge in the pro sports foundation landscape, and we asked the staff at MLSE Foundation to offer some insight into the work they’re doing around Ontario, how they balance the needs of each team and what’s on the schedule for the season ahead.


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In all fairness, these aren't officially "Super Bowl" ads but both of these advertisements - one for Broncos fans and one for Seahawks fans - show the power of sports in our society. "Kara Christian's salute" captures the true essence of what it means to be a fan and how the emotional connection to a favorite team provides strength even in the most dire of circumstances. And Derrick Coleman's "Trust Your Power" ad for Duracell delivers the message of overcoming the obstacles of a disability and pursuing your goals regardless of any perceived limitations.

Cancer-Stricken Fan Thanks the Denver Broncos in Amazing Newspaper Ad

"I don't care what USA Today's Ad Meter says after the game. Kara Christian's ad wins the Super Bowl this year."




























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Super Bowl week in New York is in full swing and in true NYC style there are many events with tremendous stars happening all across the region, from the Food Network's Ultimate Tailgate Experience, to EA Sports Madden XX Super Bowl Party and the 15th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at Madison Square Garden. Landmarks like Times Square and Bryant Park have been turned into temporary bases for ESPN, CBS Sports, and other major outlets trying to capitalize on the bright lights of NYC and SB 48.

In addition to the flashy parties and celeb watching, there are a host of events being run by the Super Bowl Committee geared towards giving back and having a positive effect on the NYC area. These include rebuilding a neighborhood, networking events for non-profits, and the all important blood and coat drives.

Below are a few examples of what's going on in and around the metro NY area this week. These events are a great way to give back to the community and also interact with some prominent NFL players, executives and fellow football fans who share a passion for giving back. So before you sit down to enjoy SB 48, take a few minutes to see how you can make a difference prior to the big game...

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a Charter. This document outlines the principles, functions and guidelines behind the games, those who organize them and those who compete. By definition, the IOC Charter establishes the principles and values of Olympism, serves as IOC law, and defines the rights and obligations of the 4 main constituents  of the Olympic movement: The IOC, International Federations, National Olympic Committees and the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games.

The Charter has been invoked several times over the issue of discrimination, most recently around female athletes from Saudi Arabia being prevented from participating in the London 2012 Summer Games by their own country. A big focus was on Principle 6 in the Charter, which states "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."

Unless you're in Russia.

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This is my final segment on “Defining Sports and Social Change” and here I’ll be shining a light where sports are used as a platform for advocacy, awareness and fundraising campaigns. This is the category most casual sports fans and active “weekend warriors” are familiar with, where we see sports as a central, unifying platform to rally an audience and raise awareness and/or funds around a particular cause.

Probably the most common examples are the thousands of run/walks, marathons, cycling and endurance races that happen every year, raising funds and awareness around a myriad of diseases and critical social issues. Run/Walk/Ride events have proven to be effective fundraisers and are used by some of the largest nonprofits and cause programs in the world including American Cancer Society, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Alzheimer's Association.

Also falling into this category is a majority of the efforts we see in professional sports. The major pro sports leagues, teams and athletes are often central figures in campaigns and initiatives designed to bring fans together around a particular cause. The NFL Crucial Catch program promoting Breast Cancer awareness, and the NHL Hockey Fights Cancer program during the month of October are good examples of these initiatives, as are ongoing campaigns from many individual athlete foundations and team foundations.

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