To many people globally, sports are inaccessible. However, there are many wonderful organizations which make it their mission to help children around the world learn the values of teamwork and reap the benefits of fun competition and physical activity. They provide children with a safe environment to learn sports in is helpful for building confidence, good sportsmanship, getting exercise, and keeping children out of trouble. Below is a list of sports non-profit organizations who make it their mission to help children and others in need.
Athletes for Hope was started in 2007 by a group of star athletes, whose mission was to get professional athletes working on charitable causes which helped athletes around the world. Big names like Mia Hamm, Muhammad Ali, and Tony Hawk, to name just a few founders, have a commitment to providing opportunities to those in need. They realized that many professional athletes want to give back, but they do not know where to begin. This is where Athletes for Hope steps in. They recruit athletes to encourage good sportsmanship practices in places that need it, as well as visiting hospital wards where children are suffering from life-threatening illnesses. As an organization they harness the power of athletes who want to help the community.
Ball to All is a non-profit which helps children around the world receive balls for sports. Their goal is to help children in communities that are afflicted by war and violence. By providing sports opportunities, they hope to lead children away from crime and acquiring weapons. Their focus is on countries where children suffer from a lack of resources. Their founder, Ori Eisen, believes that boredom and a lack of structure for children will lead to some children resorting to criminal behaviors. Ball to All ships balls and air pumps to communities most affected by poverty and violence to encourage community building and sportsmanship.
The Beyond Sports foundation is a non-profit organization that raises awareness and funding for organizations which encourage sports in underprivileged communities for social change. They provide support for over 300 organizations globally and believe in the importance of play and physical activity for children. Their work also helps to create jobs in other countries who need it. In Africa, they provide ethical employment through the sale and manufacturing of sports balls. With the wage for these jobs being above the average national wage, employees are better able to provide for their families and provide them with medical insurance. They also do work bridging the gender gap and providing sports opportunities for young women, encouraging them to engage in exercise and sportsmanship practices.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation is committed to helping athletes with physical challenges to be able to participate in sports. The costs of being physically disabled make it so that physical activity is not always accessible to people around the world. As most insurance companies do not cover basic necessities for disabled people such as prosthetic limbs or wheelchairs, The Challenged Athletes Foundation makes it their mission to provide the disabled with athletic opportunities by funding this sort of equipment, especially equipment designed for physical exercise. On their impact page, they show statistics that 21 million people in the United States live with a physical disability, and that 50% of those who are disabled get little to no physical exercise, with obesity rates being higher in children with disabilities. This program provides opportunities to athletes who suffer from disabilities or life threatening illnesses at every level, from youth sports to Paralympian.
The Fresh Air Fund helps underprivileged children in New York City to participate in summer camp experiences with sleepaway camps and host family volunteers. Over their 140 years they have helped more than 1.8 million children in the New York Community be able to have great camp experiences every summer. The Fresh Air Fund makes sure that they fund the children who need their help the most, and 75% of the families of these children reapply after their children's first session. The Fresh Air Fund sees the importance in letting children explore nature and the outdoors, while also learning more independence and social responsibility. While not necessarily a sports nonprofit, it makes the list due to its emphasis on the importance of outdoor activities in nature for children.
The Global Sports foundation is a non-profit with a focus on baseball and supplying underprivileged children and adults with lightly used and new baseball equipment. They also hold charity baseball games with the money going towards those in the United States who suffer from ALS and cancer. Their Midnight Madness Baseball Marathons puts a focus on a chosen afflicted family who needs the money for medical treatments and living expenses. David Fantin, the president of the company, has traveled the world and makes it his mission to provide equipment globally to kids with an interest in baseball who it would usually not be accessible to. As someone who lost loved ones to ALS and cancer, he also makes it his charity's goals to help those and their families afflicted by life threatening illness.
Good Sports is a wonderful charity which provides sporting equipment to children that would usually not have access. They have partnered with many sports brands for their mission, with some of the bigger names including Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, Spalding, and Nike. Good Sports works with other charitable organizations to increase the amount of children involved in sports and physical activity. Children in sports are able to learn lifelong lessons about teamwork and respect while also building their confidence.
Karsyn's Krusaders is a not for profit charity organization whose goal is to raise awareness for childhood cancer through racing. It was founded by Jessica and Andy Miller, whose beautiful daughter Karsyn was diagnosed with high risk leukemia at the age of three. Through the tragedy that befell their family, The Miller's focused on how they could help other families who had to struggle with a cancer diagnosis for their child. Although they lost Karsyn to cancer, the Miller's took their love for modified dirt car racing and integrated it with their commitment to raise awareness about childhood cancer. They now raise money for families who have children with cancer through merchandise, racing, and working with other charities. The charity's motto is to "Kick cancer's butt, one lap at a time!"
PeacePlayers International is a basketball non-profit which helps disadvantaged children globally in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Israel, and the West Bank. Their focus is to bring together communities who experience divide based on race, religion, class, etc. They do this by encouraging sports for young people and offering peace education. Through the game of basketball, they hope to bridge the gap between divided communities by making great and dynamic leaders for the world of tomorrow.
Play it Forward is a non-profit which focuses on providing sporting equipment to underfunded schools. Many schools do not have the basic P.E. equipment that children need such as balls, jump ropes, and hula hoops. It was started by twelve year old Emily Eisner in 2012, her goal being to help kids play sports in underfunded elementary schools. To this day, the non-profit is still run by children whose goal is to help other children in schools by supplying them with equipment which correlates to the schools; direct needs for physical education. Schools that are interested may inquire online to see if they qualify for support.