Sports Teams and what they have done for their Communities
November 4, 1999

Various leagues and individual teams have taken the initiative to create foundations and philanthropic organizations in an effort to establish lasting and workable partnerships within their communities.

The New Jersey Nets Commit a Portion of Profits to Community Non-Profit Organization. In Fall 1998, Ray Chambers and Lewis Katz, invested their 38 percent ownership of the New Jersey Nets into the Community Youth Organization (CYO)--the largest single interest in the team. Approximately $2 million is invested in scholarships that are personally awarded to underprivileged youths by Nets players and owners who serve as continuing mentors. This effort also consists of the funds to sponsor a 2000-member basketball league for NJ teens, with coaching clinics and player appearances.

Communities in Schools: Lasting partnerships with Sports Teams and Organizations. Communities in Schools (CIS) works with a number NFL teams to develop partnerships within special schools for troubled youth. These partnerships provide opportunities for students to get the resources necessary to stay in school and become productive and successful adults. Participating teams include the Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and Denver Broncos. Team involvement ranges from serving as mentors to teaching a course using the football team as a business example.

NBA TeamUp Program is a League-Wide Endeavor to Promote and Celebrate Community Service Projects. The NBA TeamUp Program involves the active participation of all 29 NBA teams who are then partnered with numerous area non-profit organizations and social service agencies in an effort to provide community service opportunities for area youth. By the end of the 1999-2000 season, all 29 franchises have undertaken to engage 2,000 young people in each respective city in community service projects with the players.

Major League Baseball (MLB) Established the Diversified Business Partners Program. Major League Baseball is committed to the Diverse Business Partners Program that is meant to encourage relationships with businesses owned by women and minorities. Many teams will participate in the program by looking at qualified vendors for services in the ballpark, including food, merchandise, office supplies and landscape. The Chicago White Sox support this type of program in Comiskey Park. The baseball park is the first major sports arena that has contracts with minority owned maintenance companies. Don Esposito, Director of Purchasing, Construction and Maintenance sites the need to take risks and make a conscious commitment to offer opportunities to those individuals and businesses who have been overlooked in the past.

Other Examples of Sports Community Activities:

Portland Trailblazers Created the Blazers Community Builders to Renovate Local Communities. In September 1998, the Portland Trailblazers announced the creation of the "Blazers Community Builders" program that allows Trailblazers employees (including players and coaches) to volunteer to help renovate north and northeast Portland communities. They participate in other volunteer projects related to health, education and sports programs with youth living in neighborhoods surrounding their arena as well. The program has a 100 percent employee participation record and since the program was established, Blazer employees have contributed more than 4,000 volunteer hours. On October 21, 1999, the Trail Blazers were named one of only five companies in the country to receive the Points of Light Foundation 1999 Award for Excellence in Corporate Community Service. In addition, the Trail Blazers are the ONLY professional sports team ever to be recognized and the first corporation to receive the award in Oregon.

Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation Provides Significant Incentives for Students through the Honor Rows program. Honor Rows rewards students for academic achievement, behavioral improvement and community involvement. Students are provided with free tickets to games by meeting predetermined goals set by foundations and organizations with whom they are affiliated. The success of this program is rooted in its hands-on approach and strong knowledge and understanding of the local community organizations and the connections fostered between these organizations and grantees of the Foundation. As a result, there is an established and comprehensive network of community organizations that support and encourage the students that Honor Rows recognizes.


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