Athletes for Hope

Mission

To educate, encourage and assist athletes in their efforts to contribute to community and charitable causes, to increase public awareness of those efforts, and to inspire others to do the same.

Vision

The athletic spirit is a powerful thing. Whether they’re professional or amateur, young or old, all athletes have an innate desire to push the limits. They strive to achieve their full potential, elevate their sport and inspire others.

Athletes for Hope is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 by 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. As athletes who share a deep commitment to giving back, our founders joined forces to create an organization that brings athletes together, to educate, inspire, and empower them to channel their energy for a common goal: to make a difference in the world through sports philanthropy.

Athletes for Hope has grown from its original Founders to over 3,000 athletes across many sports leagues, including the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and the Olympic movement. These athletes take part in our Causeway program which provides education workshops and subsequently one-on-one guidance for each athlete through their personal philanthropic journey.

Along with our Founders, we are breaking down barriers and bringing people together. Through our work, we help athletes recognize their untapped potential to make a difference, and we challenge them to set a new standard.

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

2015

  • Formed partnership with Nothing But Nets
  • Facilitated AFH U workshops for 22 different teams at LSU, Southern University, and Tulane University
  • In partnership with Let’s Move! Active Schools, AFH hosted its first Athletes for Active Schools week
  • Facilitated 70 school visits that featured AFH athletes who worked with over 6,000 children to promote physical activity
  • Hosted Twitter Chats that generated millions of impressions and engaged professional, Olympic and college athletes around topics such as tips to improve physical activity and how sports can play a role in addressing global health
  • Facilitated USA Track & Field Workshop for the eighth consecutive year
  • Created Power Up with the Pros program in partnership with several Washington, D.C. area professional athletes and KIPP D.C.

2016

  • Surpassed 3,000 AFH athlete members from over 25 different sports
  • Received the Let’s Move! Active Schools Partner of the Year Award
  • Expanded AFH U program to Michigan State University and UConn Women’s Basketball Team
  • Formed Partnership with USA Track & Field
  • Led Twitter Chat discussion about gender equality and its intersection with sports
  • Activated more than 100 professional and Olympic athletes in partnership with 1,000 Days to address global maternal and childhood nutrition leading up to 2016 Rio Olympic Games