Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital opened in February of 2017 to serve the Iowa community. The hospital is egg-shaped. Ferentz, who was involved in some aspects of the design, says the curves help eliminate some of the outer sounds. The hospital feels like an extension of Kinnick—like some sort of high-tech treehouse of the future sitting over its shoulder. According to Bleacher Report, “The plan had always been to continue to strengthen the marriage between the football program and the hospital—a union that stretches back to Ferentz's time as an assistant in the '80s.”
One Iowa fan wrote on a Facebook page earlier in the year, saying how cool would it be if all the fans turned and waved to the kids for a minute or two each game. The idea quickly gained traction and the hospital took notice. The hospital worked in conjunction with the football team to plan something for the first home game.
"We're so quick to disagree on everything," Ferentz said. "We're so quick to have confrontation as a nation. And here is one thing everyone can feel really good about. The attention for these kids and their families is what this is all about."
The Bleacher Report continued, “The existence of this magnificent new ritual is a reminder of why it has to exist to begin with—that there are things no child or parent should ever have to endure inside these walls. It's also a reminder of the power of the human spirit—a moment when a city of strangers can stand together as one, supporting faces they cannot see and struggles most cannot understand.”
This is what the power of sports can do – it can provide hope and cheer to those in the most difficult circumstances. Sports can provide a glimmer of happiness and put a smile on a child’s face… it can create a distraction. Most important, sports can create memories and experiences that will change a person’s life for the better.
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Earlier in September, the Aspen Institute announced a multi-year effort of more than a dozen sport, health, media and other organizations to increase the national sport participation rates according to Beyond Sport. Project Play 2020 is the first time that industry and non-profit organizations have come together to create shared goals around making sport available to all children regardless of their socioeconomics, ability to play, or background.
Two main strategies of Project Play 2020 will be Encourage Sport Sampling and Train All Coaches. According to Beyond Sport, “members will develop opportunities to introduce kids to more sports and to grow the quality and quantity of coaches.”
Caitlin Morris, General Manager for Nike Community Impact, said, “Today’s generation of kids is the least active in history. No one can solve this problem alone – that’s why the collaborative dialogue that Project Play creates is so necessary. Nike is dedicated to playing our part in helping kids fall in love with sport and play for life.”
This will truly be a team effort to try and get kids moving. It starts with the youngest generation because it will have a ripple effect in our world. If we all work together to get children active, it will help keep them healthier, live longer, and have better opportunities throughout the rest of their lives.
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Chris Long, defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles, will donate half of his salary to a scholarship fund for students in his hometown of Charlottesville, VA. Administered through his personal foundation, the Chris Long Foundation, the money will fund two students' schooling at Long's alma mater, St. Anne's-Belfield School, for seven years.
After the disturbing white supremacist marches in Charlottesville that left one dead, Long and his wife felt compelled to do something positive for the community. They decided they would choose two young people from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia to receive the multi-year scholarships. The Longs' investment will change the trajectory of these students' lives forever. Without this funding, they may not have had an opportunity to receive the top-notch education that they now will.
Long has a reputation of being one of the most philanthropic players in the NFL. The Chris Long Foundation funds initiatives domestically and internationally. Their focus areas include, homelessness, clean water, military, and youth in need. Additionally, Long has been one of a few white players who have shown support of the racial inequality protests spearheaded by Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid. He has proven to be a strong ally of his colleagues' fight for justice, and he will undoubtedly continue to put his money where his mouth is.
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After a Category 4 storm left millions in Puerto Rico without power and basic supplies, J.J. Barea has taken matters into his own hands. As the NBA's only active Puerto Rican player, Barea has been frustrated by the current administration's lack of response to the devastation on the island. He set up an online fundraiser and, to this point, has raised more than $140,000.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, proud and encouraged by his player's efforts, offered the team plane for Barea's use. They loaded the plane with relief supplies and flew to Puerto Rico to help where they can. Barea's father will remain on the island to help survivors, while Barea will return to the States to continue drumming up support. For the time being, neither Cuban nor Barea are speaking to the media about the undertaking, but surely we will see learn of the impact they've had in the coming weeks.
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The WNBPA has announced that they will award four community grants to different charitable organizations that are in line with the values and priorities of the players league wide. The four organizations - Girls Who Code, the United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life campaign, the Greater Houston Community Foundation for Hurricane Harvey relief, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, will each receive a $35,000 grant. Interestingly, the grants are funded from fines and suspensions levied by the WNBA during the previous two seasons.
Nneka Ogwumike, President of the Players Association, explained that the arrangement is a part of the WNBA's collective bargaining agreement. Half of the money funds organizations of the WNBAPA's choice with approval by the WNBA, and the other half funds organizations chosen by the WNBA with the WNBAPA's approval.
Though not as visible, WNBA players have been on the frontlines of social justice advocacy work from the very beginning. Players have been united in advocating for Black Lives Matter, LGBT rights, and more. This arrangement is a perfect example of how professional athletes can turn the corner from advocacy to philanthropy. The funds donated will make a tangible difference in their communities, specifically for young girls who are facing challenges as varied as racial discriminations to infectious diseases. Moreover, this WNBAPA/WNBA partnership spotlights proactive rather than reactive philanthropy. The fact that the terms were written into the CBA proves the leaders were thoughtful about what to do with fine monies and determined a creative way to turn a negative situation into positive impact. Other professional leagues should look to the WNBAPA as a model for effective philanthropy.
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