This past month international soccer icon and established humanitarian Pelé announced the launch of The Pelé Foundation, his new global charitable foundation focused on empowering children in impoverished areas around the world. In its first year, the Foundation aims to fulfill its mission by partnering with Pencils of Promise and charity: water.
The Pelé Foundation will fund the two organizations’ programs dedicated to providing aid for children in poverty and increasing access to an education. The Foundation will provide Pencils of Promise with monetary support intended to improve reading fluency and comprehension in Guatemala. charity: water will be working with the Foundation to provide children in developing countries with access to clean water, reducing the amount of time that the children spend walking and waiting to collect and bring water to their families each day.
Pelé is no stranger to sport philanthropy as he is known not only for his incredible abilities as a footballer but for breaking down social barriers through charity as well. His altruism focuses mostly on organizations that support children, such Unicef and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Even into retirement, Pelé uses his status as one of the best and most popular soccer players of all time to continually bring hope to kids in underprivileged regions of the world, areas he knows all too well as he grew up in similar conditions as a young boy. Pelé’s empathy for children in poverty drives his zealous involvement in youth empowerment and education.
World Sport Chicago uses its annual event to empower the city to end the cycle of violence in Chicago.
It’s no secret that Chicago is plagued by deadly gun violence and crippling poverty. Young boys and girls are roped into gang involvement at an early age, and it is seemingly impossible to free them of their situations. One Chicago-based nonprofit has set out to change that through the power of sport.
World Sport Chicago (WSC) was established out of Chicago’s bid to host the Olympic Games in 2008. The city used their funds to establish WSC with the mission of providing equal access to sport and play to underserved communities. They believe that youth sports can actually change the trajectory of entire neighborhoods, and their programming aims to connect kids to mentors, safe spaces, and support networks to help them avoid violence.
Just recently, WSC hosted its annual fundraiser, Spin to Break the Cycle. The day-long indoor cycling event brought over 700 Chicagoans together to break the cycle of violence and invest in the future of Chicago’s youth. Led by the city’s top spin instructors, participants rode in hour-long shifts, encouraged by a high energy DJ, followed by a complimentary massage and a healthy meal. WSC brought in dozens of its youth participants to meet riders and motivate them through the workout.
The event brought in more than $200,000, but one of the most impressive features of the event was the use of social media to market the event in real-time. The backdrop of the space included participants’ and donors’ tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook statuses. The massive display encouraged riders and engaged those who were unable to participate that day. On the day of the event, WSC saw over 360,000 impressions online and over 450,000 in the week leading up to it. Their social media use generated a 20% increase in Instagram followers and 51% increase in Facebook page visits. One rider went live on Facebook, garnered almost 14,000 views and raised over $3,000 in an hour! WSC invested in their online presence, and it paid off in a big way.
World Sport Chicago’s signature event continues to support its life-changing initiatives in the city’s most under-resourced areas. Funds raised empower youth, and subsequently, entire communities to unlock their potential and create stronger, safer, and healthier places to live.
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