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Meet Charity Bounce

How an Australian-based organization is inspiring positive change, employment, leadership and health through basketball programs

October 23, 2020

From October 12 to October 23, we are highlighting the stories and work of our 2020 Beyond Sport Global Awards Shortlisters who are using sport to ensure inclusive economic growth and productive work for all. Charity Bounce is one of them. Learn more about their holistic approach to providing pathways to employment for under-served youth in Australia.

“If someone in an elevator were to ask me what I do for a living…” Tracy Williams, Global Ambassador for Charity Bounce said, “…I’d say that I build people. We use a tool called basketball to do that.”

A former Harlem Globetrotter and now internationally acclaimed transformational speaker, Tracy is just as passionate about promoting CV skills in the classroom as ball-handling skills on the court. It’s a sentiment shared by the Charity Bounce team as a whole; their holistic approach to ‘building people’ sets up the youth in their program for success in life.

Founded in 2016, the Australian organization Charity Bounce exists to “inspire positive change and create opportunities for individuals and communities.” With a focus on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders and culturally diverse communities, including newly arrived refugees, they aim to move people toward a more positive future using basketball.

Their Stand Tall program for which they were shortlisted, includes both on- and off-court activities using social-emotional learning related to the development of employability skills for young people aged 13-17.

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The Stand Tall program offers employment pathways for those that need it the most.

According to the Charity Bounce annual report, 60% of Indigenous young people aged 17-24 are not in education or employment. Additionally, only 59% of Indigenous Australians have completed year 12 compared to 88% of non-Indigenous Australians.

Employability or ‘soft skills’ are frequently referenced as lacking in school leavers, graduates and those early in employment. The program focuses both on the development of these skills to provide a strong foundation for students to successfully transition into the workplace and on the value of education to achieve positive future pathways.

The Stand Tall basketball employability skills programs for children and young people is developed by locally trained coaches within the community. With a model that is scaleable with the train-the-trainers model, the hope for Charity Bounce is to extend to further communities across Australia. Crucially, however, the Stand Tall program only extends to a community if invited in.

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A defining element of Charity Bounce as a whole, is that they do not stop at just providing youth with skills, they work extremely hard on providing real job opportunities for their participants. They have partnered with a wide range of organizations, including the Australian airline Qantas, to create job placement opportunities – real pathways to success.  

“Hope without practical steps toward it can have detrimental effects on young people,” Ian Heininger, CEO of Charity Bounce said. “Let’s give them real steps towards success.”

For Ian, it’s all about presenting what he calls “out of reach opportunities toward employment” for those underserved youth in the program. Since launching in 2016, Charity Bounce have done just that and have placed well over 100 young people in jobs.

“Our job is to both give them a chance, and make sure that through the teachings of basketball, that they make the most of that chance.”

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For Tracy, one of his favorite metaphors for life that comes across through basketball, of which there are many, is that of the assist. On the basketball court, you are dependent on those around you to set you up for success – and when you get that great pass for a layup, you need give your teammate a high-five.

Be open to help, accept it when you can get it and show your thanks, that will set you up for success, Tracy believes.  

“If we can just get that one message across to everyone in our program, I believe we can change tomorrow, today."

Charity Bounce is a 2020 Beyond Sport Global Awards Shortlister in the Sport for Decent Work and Economic Growth Category. Learn more about the rest of this year’s Shortlist and follow their journeys at


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