Every year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation honors the innovative and collaborative efforts of individuals, organizations, and teams that are making their communities healthier through sport. This year's RWJF Sports Award winners were the Giants Community Fund, The Moyer Foundation, and PeacePlayers International. Richard Besser, RWJF president and CEO, said "This year’s winners inspire packed stadiums, provide comfort to grieving children and form international friendships. Each effort demonstrates the passion for community that will make our country stronger and can inspire all of us to do more for our neighbors.”
The Giants Community Fund took home the award for professional sports team, community relations department, or foundation. The Fund partners with the San Francisco Giants by using baseball to encourage underserved youth and their families to live healthy, productive lives. Through the Junior Giants program, the Giants Community Fund supports 25,000 children through education and violence prevention initiatives.
Bringing home the individual athlete or professional coach's foundation award was The Moyer Foundation which provides comfort, hope, and healing to children and families affected by grief and addiction. The Moyer Foundation camps - Camp Erin and Camp Mariposa - use physical activity and sport to teach grieving children self-esteem and trust. With 50 locations across the US and Canada, The Moyer Foundation has touched the lives of more than 34,000 children.
Lastly, in the organization that is an influential leader and model for others category, RWJF recognized PeacePlayers International. PPI uses basketball as a vehicle to unite divided communities across the globe. Coaches utilize innovative peace building and leadership development curriculum to bridge the divides in destructive, volatile situations around the world. Since its inception in 2001, PPI has impacted more than 75,000 youth and trained over 2,000 coaches from 15 countries. According to Brendan Tuohey, Executive Director, "For more than 15 years PeacePlayers has actively been using the power of basketball to unify communities worldwide and create healthy, safe environments for young people." PPI believes that if children can learn to play peacefully, they can learn to live peacefully, as well.