We spoke with David Williams, CEO of Make-A-Wish, Connie Watt, Vice President of The JJ Watt Foundation, ran down the top plays in sports philanthropy, and brought you new MVPs in this month's edition.
sports + social change
Throughout her 15 year career in the sports industry, Erit has continuously advocated for positive and influential stories that athletes and sports have on society. She has worked with and represented over 100 professional athletes, teams, non-profit organizations, athlete unions, brands, media networks and causes.
Erit now creates content for some of the most important social issues as they relate to the sports world, including producing a docu-series for VICE Sports as well as writing and producing two short documentaries in the area of Sports + Social Change for Participant Media’s digital platform TakePart.com.
In addition, Erit is an adjunct professor at USC's Annenberg School of Communication teaching a course she created and designed called Athlete Speak: Communicating to the Professional Athlete. She is a contributing author about crowdfunding in sports, an advisor to the sports for causes crowdfunding site FanAngel and has written about sports and social issues that her films address.
Janet E. Sevilla joined the Atlanta Braves in 2013 as Community Affairs Manager. She is responsible for the day to day management of the department’s community outreach initiatives and the Atlanta Braves Foundation’s fundraising efforts. Janet develops, maintains, and builds relationships with community leaders and organizations; represents the Braves at community events, coordinates charitable activities, and supports the Braves’ mission of making a difference in the community and growing the footprint of youth baseball. Prior to joining the Braves, Janet spent seven seasons as the Community Development Coordinator with the Los Angeles Galaxy and a season as Community Relations Assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Over the past nine years, she has worked with teams and athletes like Kobe Bryant, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Vladimir Radmanovic, Kelly Johnson, Jason Grilli, and Jim Johnson in using their sports platform to influence change, bring awareness to social causes, and create special experiences for people making a difference in the community.
Janet is currently enrolled in the George Washington University’s Sports Philanthropy Executive Certificate. She serves on the boards for WISE (Women In Sports and Events) Atlanta Chapter and the Villages at Carver Family YMCA.Janet graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Black Studies, Spanish, and Sports Management. A native of Los Angeles, California, Janet is a Fulfillment Fund, USC Upward Bound/TRIO, Constitutional Rights Foundation, and Los Angeles High Alumni.
Heather Darney joined the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 as the Director of Community Relations, overseeing the team’s outreach initiatives, and eventually she was made Executive Director of the Ravens Foundation. In both of her roles, Heather is responsible for partnership cultivation, fundraising strategy, and community engagement. She coordinates player appearances at community events, manages in-kind donations to local organizations, and administers the Ravens Foundation’s portfolio of grants. Heather and her staff also support individual players’ philanthropic interests by assisting them with their personal foundations.
Before joining the Ravens, Heather worked as the Special Events Manager with the Baltimore Orioles where she organized food drives, charity events, and silent auctions for the club. Heather graduated from Townson University with degrees in Sports Management and Business Administration, and she is currently enrolled in George Washington University’s Sports Philanthropy Executive Certificate program.
Deb Kirinovic is the Associate Director, Strategy and Solutions for the Strategic Partnerships division at ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is responsible for strategically overseeing partner integration into enterprise-wide marketing campaign initiatives and for identifying and delivering new business opportunities that are mutually beneficial for the organization and partners/prospects.
Prior to becoming Associate Director, Deb led the cultivation and stewardship of the National Basketball Association (NBA), including league, team, coach, player, agent and association relationships. She was instrumental in the development and execution of the Hoops for St. Jude campaign, a year-round, multi-channel marketing campaign that drives awareness and funds for the critical mission of St. Jude.
Deb received her Master of Business Administration and her Master of Sports Administration from Ohio University in 2009. She is a 2007 graduate from Ohio University, where she received her undergraduate degree and was a four-year varsity softball player.