Athletes for Hope

At Athletes for Hope, our unwavering commitment to educating athletes about sports philanthropy means we are never satisfied with the status quo. We are a data driven organization and we regularly evaluate and enhance our programs to show our increasing impact.

Evaluating our Impact

We take pride in the programs and services we provide to athletes, leagues, universities and charities. We are consistently evaluating our efforts to ensure optimal impact.


This year we shifted our focus of AFH FIT to offer virtual visits and other digital resources to help promote the physical and mental health of our nation’s youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 200 professional, Olympic and collegiate athletes filmed videos demonstrating their favorite physical fitness activities to do at home without equipment with the purpose of inspiring underserved children and families to stay active. Those videos have now been viewed more than 500,000 times!

We also adapted our AFH FIT school visits to virtually deliver our C.H.A.M.P.S. (Courage, Honesty, Accountability, Mindfulness, Perseverance, and Sportsmanship) Leadership program to underserved students around the United States. We are on pace to facilitate 120 virtual visits this year, reaching almost 300,000 children.







AFH University

This year we adapted the AFH U workshops, hosting 12 virtual workshops with more than 332 student-athletes. We also added our tenth AFH U college campus, Howard University, providing a diverse network of equality, social justice, inclusion, education, health and nutrition opportunities for Howard Bison student-athletes.

Thank you to our AFH U community partners! This year we worked 30 different organizations with 63 community connections.








AFH Equality Program

Athletes for Hope is dedicated to promoting equality and inclusivity throughout our programming and recently launched an expanded Equality Program aimed at leveraging the power of sports to advance issues of equality. Through partnerships, global exchanges, service projects, advocacy, activism and virtual opportunities, AFH empowered athletes to engage in initiatives and dialogue around social justice, race relations and gender equality.

At the AFH U level, we were focused on expanding to more HBCUs throughout the country, providing minority student-athletes the education and tools to promote social change.

We also teamed up with ESPN and I am a voter. to encourage athletes and their networks to vote and ensure their voices were heard in 2020 local, state and federal elections. The campaign garnered a remarkable 9 million impressions on social media!

Earlier this year, in conjunction with the US Department of State, Sports Diplomacy Division and World Learning, AFH hosted a team of Tanzanian basketball players as part of a two-week exchange program focused on empowering girls and young women through basketball and sport.

Additionally, AFH engaged its staff, board, and athlete membership in a series of virtual racial equality workshops to explore topics such as social identities, cycles of socialization, and individual and societal biases. We will continue to offer these workshops in 2021 and beyond, with the goal of expanding upon our collective dialogue, mutual understanding, knowledge, and community engagement in this critical area.

Hear what others are saying about the work of Athletes for Hope

We are bringing the sports community together…

“In a few small but tangible ways, Athletes for Hope appears to be changing the culture of sports philanthropy.”
Bruce Schoenfeld – SportsBusiness Journal

Through education…

“Of all the meetings we’ve had in spring training, that was the best one in 30 years.”
Ozzie Guillen – Chicago White Sox Manager, talking about the team’s Athletes for Hope Workshop

“It was an amazing morning and one that will live on in each of our memories for a long, long time. The messages delivered by Ivan and Lonnie Ali were powerful and resonated with many of us in the room. I have never seen an entire Club more focused on a speaker(s) in my many years of partaking in various team presentations.”
Shana Daum – Senior Director, Public Affairs and Community Relations, San Francisco Giants, talking about the team’s Athletes for Hope Workshop

By inspiring athletes to make a difference…

“I really appreciate the turning point AFH has been for my life. Working with Girls Inc of Orange County has led to many positive things – meeting great people as friends and connections, influencing young girls in a positive way and in general feeling like I am making a difference.”
Ann Gaffigan – USA Track & Field (USATF)

“I’ve been working with Athletes for Hope for over five years now and I can’t say enough about how great they have been to me. After I had heart surgery a few years ago, AFH connected me with the American Heart Association so I could share my story with others. They’ve also put me in touch with several other charities I wanted to help, and I always trust that they are looking out for me. I would recommend them to anybody.”
Etan Thomas – Retired NBA Player

“I once thought that the best way to give back was to write a check and because there isn’t a lot of money in women’s soccer I have never been able to do so but I have been wrong all along. Giving back is about the quality of the time you put in, not necessarily the quantity. I am so grateful I have been able to work with AFH…because of the opportunities they have set up for me I am becoming a better person and realizing that there is so much to life than just sport.”
Erin McLeod – Canada Women’s National Soccer Team

“Athletes for Hope provides the avenue for athletes to get connected to communities, and I honestly believe that they are the most integral part. I think most other athletes would agree that it is easy for us to volunteer and get involved in the community because it is our passion, but because of Athletes for Hope’s commitment and relationships within the community, it makes our job a lot easier to focus on the people in the community and our passion.”
Luke Sassano – Retired Major League Soccer Player

We are having an impact on charities across the nation…

“Athletes for Hope has provided children in homeless families with the opportunity to play with basketball stars and soccer legends right in the shelters where they live. It’s a powerful thing for children to see professional athletes they look up to and have the chance to interact with them, playing basketball and soccer in the shelter. The athletes talk with our children about the importance of educating the brain as well as the body, reading books and talking one-on-one with children. We are so grateful for our partnership with Athletes for Hope which make it possible for our children to have these incredible experiences!”

Jamila Larson, LICSW, Executive Director, Co-Founder, Homeless Children’s Playtime Project

“We have been a charitable partner of Athletes for Hope for over two years. By having Athletes for Hope members come to The Salvation Army to volunteer time, we are able to expose children to positive role models in athletic interest areas when there are no other means to do so. This partnership also helps us to enhance the services in our community as well as bring in new interest through heightened exposure brought on by the athletes.”

Tara Holcomb, Development & Public Relations Director, The Salvation Army West Palm Beach, FL