Sports and Social Change

We got a note this past week from the good folks at Athlete Ally - one of the Orgs leading the call for respect, inclusion and acceptance in sports regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity - about a big event they're hosting in New York this October. A lot of progress has been made around this issue recently, but there is still a long road ahead and everyone in the sports community can get involved. Here's the full scoop...

Athlete Ally Action Awards

On behalf of Athlete Ally's Board of Directors, I am pleased to invite you to join me at the organization's first annual Athlete Ally Action Awards. The cocktail party will take place on Thursday, October 2 at Cafe Rouge in Manhattan.

The inaugural Athlete Ally Action Awards will recognize individuals and organizations that took pioneering actions in 2014 to help create LGBT inclusive athletic environments and end anti-LGBT prejudice through sport. In 2014, more athletes have come out and more sports organizations have taken a stand for LGBT equality than ever before. LGBT athletes are increasingly being made to feel welcome for who they are and straight allies are leveraging their voices to speak up for LGBT inclusion.

Please celebrate this enormous progress with us on October 2. Help Athlete Ally continue to educate and activate athletic communities to eliminate homophobia and transphobia from sports and to exercise their leadership to champion LGBT respect.

Please purchase your tickets today by clicking HERE


www.athleteally.org
Facebook: facebook.com/AthleteAlly
Twitter: @athleteally

 

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2014 Green Sports Summit For most people, the "green" they think of when it comes to sports is either the grass on the field or the significant amount of money the industry generates. However, there's a growing movement to raise the bar on another green topic in the sports world - environmental responsibility. And I had the opportunity to be at the epicenter of that movement last week at the Green Sports Summit, an annual gathering of sports business professionals who are exploring ways to build a more sustainable and environmentally friendly sports experience for all.

The annual event is organized by the Green Sports Alliance, a nonprofit formed in 2010 with deep "organic" roots in professional sports including founding franchises Seattle Seahawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Storm, Vancouver Canucks along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Paul Allen's Vulcan, Inc. In 4 short years, they have grown the alliance to include over 240 pro & collegiate sports teams, venues and strong relationships with the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, MLS and NLL.

The 2014 Green Sports Summit was a great opportunity for sharing of best practices and examples of what's possible in creating a sports experience that leaves a very small environmental footprint. There were a wide range of presentations around construction topics, energy efficiency & lighting, recycling & composting, sustainable purchasing & sourcing, and transportation. I was drawn to more of the marketing and event discussions, as those intersect with the work we do around Cause Marketing and CSR, but everything I attended was extremely insightful and definitely valuable.

Here are 3 things I learned at the 2014 Green Sports Summit:

 

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Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:21

Featured Organization - Tenacity

TenacityTenacity

 

ASSOCIATED SPORTS: Tennis
CAUSES SERVED: Athletics, Children & Youth, Education, Literacy, Community, Health
AGE GROUPS SERVED: Children & Youth
EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. " target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
WEBSITE: http://www.tenacity.org

 

The one-on-one mental and physical challenge that tennis presents often creates something very special in the world of sports. Pure athletic ability only goes so far, and success on the court requires strategy and planning, knowledge of your opponent, quick decision-making skills, and complete focus – much like life itself. And with tennis there are overarching elements of self-awareness, discipline and sportsmanship, which add to its value as a great platform for youth development.

In the greater Boston area, Tenacity has taken all that tennis offers and combined it with a comprehensive academic and mentoring program which serves thousands of at-risk youth every year, building a 15-year winning streak that would make Federer or Nadal jealous. We asked the team at Tenacity to give us a deeper look inside their program and share their thoughts on what makes a winner on the court and in the classroom.

 

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Friday, 31 January 2014 16:00

Featured Organization - MLSE Foundation

MLSE FoundationMLSE Foundation

 

ASSOCIATED SPORTS: Basketball, Football (Soccer), Ice Hockey
CAUSES SERVED: Athletics, Children & Youth, Community, Health
AGE GROUPS SERVED: Children & Youth
EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. " target="_blank">This email 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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On the eve of the World Cup last week, we were thrilled to host sports and entertainment industry professionals from around Southern California who gathered to celebrate the big event and share in their passion for soccer as a platform for social good. Along with our co-hosts Sports Studio, we welcomed supporters representing countries from around the globe including Mexico, Italy, Germany, Columbia, Argentina, Brazil and the USA, making their predictions for early exits (Spain!) and deep runs (Costa Rica?) into the knockout round.

 

World Cup Kickoff LA

Joining us on the night were several amazing nonprofit soccer organizations and social enterprise brands, each with their own unique approach to using the "beautiful game" as a platform for change...

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Blondes vs. Brunettes Flag Football benefitting the Alzheimer's AssociationKings vs Blackhawks and Heat vs Spurs have been getting all of the press recently. While those have become great sports rivalries, they have nothing on Blondes vs. Brunettes, a highly competitive rivalry that likely predates all of pro sports. And this past Saturday, that played out at the Los Angeles edition of the Blondes vs. Brunettes Flag Football Game benefitting the Alzheimer's Association California Southland Chapter.

Blondes vs. Brunettes is a volunteer-driven event that raises awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Two teams of women – divided to reflect the age-old rivalry between blondes and brunettes – compete in a flag football game to help end Alzheimer’s. The participants also recruit coaches, announcers and other volunteers to build an atmosphere of fierce, friendly competition. Leading up to game day, the two teams participate in a series of events to socialize and increase awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. (via Alzheimer's Association)

This past weekend's game in Los Angeles is one of 35 held around the US every year, put on by various chapters of the Alzheimer's Association and spearheaded by their Young Professionals Committee. "Blondes vs. Brunettes founders Sara Allen Abbott and Ryan Triplette each had a personal connection to Alzheimer's and wanted to create an event that would raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association and generate awareness and concern about the disease among other young professionals." (via Alzheimer's Association). The games have raised over $3m since their inception with the Washington DC chapter in 2005, and the California Southland Chapter participants just added another $65,000 to that total with their recent efforts.

And mind you, this was not "Powderpuff" football as advertised - this was intense competition, with high level play calling and strategy, and some very impressive athleticism. That competitive drive was likely fueled by a very personal connection to the cause they were playing for - each player on the field had been impacted by Alzheimer's and was out there representing a family member or loved one. As any athlete knows, when you're playing for something greater than yourself, the intensity goes up and the will to win takes over.

The final result? The Brunettes raised the trophy for a 3rd straight year, and more impressively have yet to give up a point to the Blondes in all 3 games. And the Blondes are not happy about that at all. We expect this rivalry to heat up even more as they gear up for another SoCal showdown in 2015.

For more information on the Alzheimer's Association Blondes vs. Brunettes games and to find one in your city, visit http://blondesvsbrunettes.org and check out more photos from the Los Angeles event here.


2014 Blondes vs. Brunettes Flag Football Game at Fairfax HS, benefitting the Alzheimer's Association California Southland Chapter. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/BvsB.LA

 

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Novak DjokovicBy Khalil Garriott

Novak Djokovic is a homegrown superstar revered by his fellow Serbians. He frequently gives back to his country, and it’s commonplace to hear him mention Serbia in post-match interviews after winning yet another tennis trophy.

With his homeland decimated by damage from floods, Djokovic dedicated his Italian Open victory to his native country. He put his money where his mouth is, proudly donating his entire tournament winnings – all $749,934 of them – to the relief efforts in Serbia.

Djokovic rallied to defeat rival Rafael Nadal in three sets to win his third Italian Open on Sunday, putting himself in prime position as the French Open begins May 25. When he drew a heart on the clay to show compassion for his country mates, it was clear he had more important matters than tennis on his mind.

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World Cup 2014The World Cup starts on 6/12 when hosts Brazil take on Croatia (12:30pm PST on ESPN). So to kick things off right here in Southern California, we're celebrating "World Cup Eve" on Wednesday June 11th with our World Cup Kickoff LA party! We've teamed up with our good friends at Sports Studio for a fun and social event to network with sports business and entertainment industry professionals who share in the passion and excitement for the World Cup.

Several nonprofit and social enterprise soccer orgs will be on-hand to share how they use soccer as a tool for social change, including:


Also joining us will be the LACMA exhibition "Futbol: The Beautiful Game." The exhibit examines soccer and its significance in societies around the world, and includes approximately 30 artists who work in video, photography, painting and sculpture, providing "a sense of the miraculous possibilities of the sport as a universal conversation piece." This is a must-see for soccer fans in SoCal; visit LACMA before it wraps up in late July.

 

Futbol The Beautiful Game

Food and beverages will be available for purchase and we'll have plenty of raffle prizes and give-aways throughout the night. There's a full video game arcade on-site as well as an "air soccer" table so you can show off your skills.

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Safe4Athletes

 

The upcoming film “Palo Alto” centers around a 14 year old high school girl soccer athlete, played by Emma Roberts (actual age 22), who gets romantically involved with her high school soccer coach, played by James Franco.

The trailer for this movie begins with scenes depicting the dynamics between Emma Roberts and her teammates, who are openly discussing the obvious attraction that is going on between Emma Roberts (Athlete) and James Franco (Coach). We see Emma Roberts displaying her shyness and obvious attraction for her coach as she is teased by her teammates.

The next vignette of the trailer shows a series of boys, the age of the girls, acting out of control and Robert’s frustration with their immaturity when all she wants is a loving mature boyfriend.  This sets  the stage for James Franco to make sexual advances toward Emma Roberts,  while Emma is showing open displays of frustration with boys her own age. Roberts is left vulnerable to be sexually molested by her coach as she sits in her locker alone at school as the coach approaches her. The Coach enters with the narration overlay “I’m older and I know that there aren’t a lot of good things around.” The  coach molests the 14 year old high school soccer player.

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Red Bull Wings For Life World Run

One of the biggest brands in the world, Red Bull has a knack for innovative marketing, from unique events and competitions like Flugtag and Crashed Ice, to World Record attempts and motor sports stunts. Not every brand out there can have an athlete jump from the edge of space back to earth and break the internet in the process.

And now Red Bull is putting their marketing muscle - ALL of it - behind a major campaign that culminates on May 4th with the Wings For Life World Run. This unique event will unite runners in 34 different locations around the world in a simultaneous race, all with the aim of raising awareness and funds to find cure for spinal cord injury. "There are approximately 3 million people currently living with a spinal cord injury, and each year thousands more are traumatically injured – the main cause being traffic accidents." (via Red Bull Wings For Life) In the US, races will be held in Denver, CO; Sunrise, FL; and Santa Clarita, CA (that's a 3:00am PDT start time here!).

 

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