History

Athletes for Hope was founded in 2007 by a group of elite athletes who all share a common bond – a deep commitment to helping others. The AFH Founders are Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Jeff Gordon, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr.

Each of our founders has dedicated significant time, energy, and resources to various charitable causes. And in all of their journeys, they found a common theme: many athletes want to give back but don’t know where to begin. Our founders saw that the sports community is competitive by nature, which has led to a fragmented approach to philanthropy.

And so our founders decided to break the mold. By reaching out to professional, amateur, and youth athletes alike, Athletes for Hope was designed to bring all types of athletes together to educate and inspire them to channel their energy for a common goal: to make a difference in the world.


Athletes for Hope Timeline of Accomplishments

2007

  • Athletes for Hope Launched on Good Morning America 
  • Presented first education workshop to the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team
  • Recruited over 200 athlete members 

2008

  • Presented workshop to first Major League team, the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers
  • Facilitated over 150 connections between athletes and charities in a single year
  • Received first grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for $400,000

2009

  • Conducted workshops with 360 athletes, more than double each of the previous 2 years
  • Surpassed more than 200 connections between athletes and charities in a single year 
  • Hosted Sport & Philanthropy - The value of giving back panel at Sportaccord in Denver, CO 
  • Hosted panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, CA 

2010

  • Surpassed 1,000 athlete members 
  • Conducted workshops with 4 MLB teams at Spring Training in Phoenix, AZ (San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics)
  • For the second consecutive year, facilitated over 200 connections between athletes and more than 100 charities
  • Completed and rolled out Workshop 2.0: Options for Impact
  • Introduced youth initiative, Good Game
  • Received 3 year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Received 5 year grant from the Bender Foundation, Inc.
  • Conducted the first ever Philanthropy in Sports panel at the IMG World Congress of Sports in Los Angeles, CA
  • Hosted Sporting celebrities and doing good: What’s possible and what’s not? panel at Beyond Sport Summit in Chicago 

2011

  • Surpassed total of more than 1,000 athletes completing workshops since 2007
  • Conducted workshops with 2 MLB teams at Spring Training in Phoenix, AZ (Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers)
  • For the first time, completed over 300 connections between athletes and charities in a single year
  • Hosted Inaugural Sport & Social Impact Leadership Summit in conjunction with Wharton Sports Business Initiative (WSBI)

2012

  • Surpassed 2,000 athlete members 
  • Conducted workshops with all NFL and NBA rookies during league rookie orientation programs
  • Hosted Escape for Good charity weekend in Paradise Valley, AZ featuring philanthropists, athletes, musicians, and entrepreneurs
  • Conducted workshop with all players and coaches at NCAA Basketball Final Four Tournament in New Orleans, LA
  • Completed Workshop 3.0: Vehicles for Giving

2013

  • Created AFH-University (AFH-U) Program
  • Piloted AFH-U Program at the University of Virginia
  • Became an official partner of the NBA
  • Conducted more athlete philanthropy workshops than any other year on record as we met with hundreds of professional, Olympic and college athletes from the NBA, ATP, WTA, Major League Soccer, USA Track & Field, Women's Professional Soccer, and the Association of Surfing Professionals

2014

  • Received 2-Year Grant from the Gates Foundation to expand AFH's reach to global causes
  • AFH-U program at UVA expands to 5 new varsity sports teams, bringing total to 9 AFH-U teams at UVA
  • AFH-U program expands to LSU and Tulane thanks to the support of a 3-year grant from the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation
  • Received Grant from Nike, Inc. to place greater emphasis on helping athletes connect to opportunities which help children become more physically active
  • Received a scholarship to participate in the Aspen Ideas Festival
  • Facilitated NBA Rookie Transition Program workshop for the third consecutive year