It's our 2 Year Anniversary, and we have an exciting announcement to share! We also spoke with Eric Kussin, Founder of We're All A Little "Crazy", ran down the top plays in sports philanthropy, as well as brought you new MVPs in this month's edition.
We're All A Little Crazy
PHILANTHROPY PLAYMAKERS CONSULTING
MLB YOUTH ACADEMY
From player to front office to fan, I believe there is always a way to be involved in sports that can connect people throughout a community and across divides. Sports teams can be a force for good, and I hope to use that platform to build better communities and create change.
I earned my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada, Reno where I majored in Communication Studies and Business Administration, and am now part of the spring 2018 cohort of The George Washington University’s Sports Philanthropy certificate program. For that capstone project, I am focusing on what professional sports teams can do to encourage girls continued involvement in sports.
After graduating from Nevada, I spent time making magic with The Walt Disney Company and with the Community Relations and Special Events team for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Reno 1868 FC, the USL affiliate of the San Jose Earthquakes. Throughout the Reno-Tahoe area I managed over 170 events which included players, mascots, and our street team, handled all donation requests, and the Kicks for Kids program, which provided hundreds of tickets to Reno 1868 FC matches to local nonprofits and schools, free of charge.
Currently with the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund at the P&G MLB Youth Academy, I help connect underserved youth to what could be their only opportunity to play baseball and softball. We provide free winter instruction, offseason training, tutoring hours to promote academic achievement, and host our own 10U - 18U baseball and softball teams. I focus on executing those programs for our Academy members and youth throughout the tri-state. Our Reds Rookie Success League is a free summer program that is an introduction to baseball with a character-based curriculum for boys and girls who normally would not be able to afford this type of mentoring. We are currently planning our Home Base program for baseball and softball players that are soon to graduate high school that will combine individualized athletic training with ACT test prep and life skills development. Coming up is our Fantasy Camp for Kids, where we provide youth with physical and developmental challenges the chance to improve their baseball skills with our Reds players and coaches.
director, Health, Fitness, & Athletics
NOble Network of
Jason Ronai is the Director of Health, Fitness, and Athletics for the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, IL. Noble has 12,000 students that attend 17 high performing college prep high schools. The campuses reside primarily on Chicago's south and west side and provide a quality public school choice to students from every city neighborhood. 98% of Noble graduates are accepted into 4 year universities.
Ronai is a former assistant principal, PE chair, and basketball coach at Noble’s Chicago Bulls College Prep campus, one of the city’s highest performing high schools. Prior o Noble, he served as a physical education teacher and assistant baseball coach at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He has also coached at Indiana State University and Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
Ronai was a four year starter in baseball at UNC-Asheville after starting his college career on a basketball scholarship at St Peter’s College. He has a masters degree in Sport Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Jason believes there is true education and art in sport, and coaches should work diligently to capitalize on the countless teachable moments athletics provides. Intentional sportsmanship is a key component to the Noble League - the competition mechanism of Noble athletics, fitness, academics, and the arts.
Additionally, Ronai led the development of the NobleFit program, an empowering and comprehensive fitness and wellness program that all Noble students participate in throughout their four years at a Noble campus.
Noble aims to provide large scale evidence that participation in a quality sport and fitness programs influences academic growth, attendance, high school graduation, college admission, college matriculation, and eventually college graduation.
Community Relations INtern
A native of Pennsylvania, Emma graduated with honors from High Point University this May with a B.A. in Strategic Communication. Emma first discovered the power of sports to make a positive impact in the community while working for the university’s athletic department. Since then, her passion for sports philanthropy has continued to grow and guide her professional development.
Emma is currently an intern for the WNBA Chicago Sky, where she supports the day-to-day operation of the team’s community relations department and non-profit foundation. She recently assisted in planning and executing a free basketball clinic with around 1,500 participants, setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest single-venue basketball clinic.
She also held a community relations internship with the Greensboro Swarm, the NBA G League Affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets. Given that it was only their second season of operation, she had the unique opportunity to promote the team’s visibility and growth through the development of meaningful partnerships with local non-profits and community groups.
Emma has gained additional experience in community outreach and grassroots marketing within the agency setting, working hand-in-hand with professional athletes, non-profit leaders, and high-profile personnel on large-scale events and fundraisers. In her free time, Emma also enjoys volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Special Olympics, and Girl Scouts.
Emma is a self-motivated young professional who is currently exploring opportunities for her first-full time position. She is excited to start a career in the sports philanthropy field where she can use sports to promote positive social change.
Positive coaching alliance
Eric began his career at PCA in early 2015 as an intern, with a goal toward helping teach others the invaluable life lessons swimming taught him. In June 2015, he accepted a position of Partner Support Manager, a position he held until moving to the marketing department in July 2016. As Marketing Manager, Eric manages the Development Zone Resource Center (PCADevZone.org), manages the PCA website (www.positivecoach.org), service's PCA's national and corporate partners, and works directly with regional Chapter Executive Directors to strategize regional marketing campaigns and chapter-based email marketing. Eric also supports PCA's sales and fundraising efforts through design and marketing strategy. He leads many of PCA's design efforts, manages PCA's content production, namely video production, and runs point on PCA's annual year-in-review, Momentum Magazine.
Eric Fischer swam for NCAA Division III swimming powerhouse Denison University. As a senior captain and two-time Academic All-American, Eric helped lead the Big Red to four straight conference titles and two national championships. While at Denison, Eric earned his BA in both Philosophy and International Studies. He later earned a Master's degree in Sport Management at the University of San Francisco in 2016, specializing in cause marketing and sports properties.
Outside of work, Eric spends a lot of his time watching sports, primarily the Denver Broncos and Golden State Warriors. He also enjoys time with friends, cycling, finding new beers, skiing, meditating, playing with dogs, and exploring San Francisco.