July 31, 2020
When COVID-19 changed our world earlier this year, thousands of sport for development organisations were forced to halt operations, unable to provide the therapeutic, educational and/or social service programming or support that many communities have come to rely on.
To galvanise financial and in-kind strategic resources to support the sport for development sector during and coming out of the pandemic, the Beyond Sport Foundation, Laureus Sport for Good, Comic Relief US, Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation and the LA84 Foundation joined together to form the Sport for Good Response Fund in May 2020.
Two months later, 38 organisations that use sport as a tool to address the most complex social issues around the world have received - or are in the process of receiving – funding that is helping to support programs across 18 countries which are using a wide array of sports to continue to make an impact in their communities.
In addition to Laureus Sport for Good reallocating hundreds of thousands of pounds for the fund, the achievement was made possible by an injection of £385,000 in funding and capacity-building support from Comic Relief UK, Z Zurich Foundation and Chivas who joined the collaborative effort shortly after it began to support and empower sport for social impact organizations to survive, adapt and thrive in the face of COVID-19.
“Never has good health and wellbeing been such a significant focus right across the world, and never has there been a bigger opportunity to catalyse this momentum to create social change. As a Foundation that collaborates with grassroots sports organisations to deliver programming under our wellbeing pillar, we can see that catastrophic impact COVID-19 is having," said Mark Heasman, Z Zurich Foundation Global Head of Engagement.
"But we also see the amazing resilience displayed by those involved in sport, and their desire to improve the lives of vulnerable people. We are delighted to partner with the Sport for Good Response Fund to ensure financial support remains available to those that need it in this uncertain environment.”
Nick Blacknell, Chivas Marketing Director, added, “Driving positive impact is in Chivas’s DNA and through our global partnership with Manchester United and ongoing partnership with Beyond Sport, we are committed to demonstrating the power sport has to enrich the lives of others. Chivas and Beyond Sport share similar values of community, collaboration and generosity and this Fund will help empower sport and social impact organisations within local communities at a testing time for people across the globe."
The Fund unites the support of a diverse range of partners to aid organisations and young people as part of sport’s role in ending violence, discrimination and disadvantage around the world. On 5 August, Beyond Sport’s consultancy arm, thinkBeyond, will hold a roundtable workshop for recipients to help them adapt or create new initiatives and to strengthen their businesses resilience to the shifting environment and set them up for long-term success in the new social context.
"Comic Relief is delighted to join forces on the Sport for Good Response Fund. Organisations using sport for social change will have access to vital funds during this challenging time and support for their long term strategic goals," said Ruth Davison, Chief Executive of Comic Relief (UK).
The workshop will tap into subject matter expertise from the global sport for social change network to support solutions designed to address areas such as: e-learning and digital tools, redesigning and scaling programming, diversifying revenue streams, monitoring and evaluation and preparing for the return to play. The next week all applicants will also have the opportunity to take part in a session focused on fundraising. Additionally, a selection of Fund recipients will also receive long-term strategic support from thinkBeyond’s expert team, which will endeavor to help them to shape their future vision and pivot their approaches to face the new normal of sport and development.
Collectively, the Sport for Good Response Fund partners are providing direct short- and long-term funding, in-depth subject matter expertise and/or in-kind resources to bolster the sport for development sector in response to the effects of the coronavirus. Outcomes and recommendations of this extensive consultancy support will be made available to the sector through an open-source report, in an effort to further strengthen our sector for the future.
“We are extremely thankful to have Comic Relief UK, Z Zurich Foundation and Chivas as part of the Sport for Good Response Fund, said Nick Keller, Beyond Sport Founder and President. "Their generous contributions will help ensure that Fund recipients are able to meet the essential needs of their communities."
"When the world eventually emerges from this crisis, the use of sport as a tool to bring people together, to heal communities through emotional and physical support and connect them to educational, health and employment opportunities will be greater than ever.”