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A Note from Jason Belinkie, AFH CEO

A Note from Jason Belinkie, AFH CEO

This note was originally shared in the December edition of AFH’s Pass the Passion newsletter. Not subscribed? Sign up here.

One Word to Describe 2022: Gratitude

It is hard to believe that 2022 is coming to a close and the 16th year of Athletes for Hope is now behind us. As I reflect on these milestones, I keep coming back to one word: gratitude.

Our athletes are the heartbeat of Athletes for Hope, and we are a stronger organization today than ever before because of them. A vision that once began with 12 Founding Athletes has now grown to a network of thousands of professional, Olympic, Paralympic and collegiate athletes across nearly every sport who dedicate themselves each day to help those in need around the world. It is their selflessness and willingness to give back that makes what we do possible.

We also wouldn’t be where we are without our best-in-class partners such as Deloitte, Clorox, ESPN, Under Armour, WETA, Arizona Community Foundation, the Gordon and Llura Gund 1993 Foundation, the Pennington Family Foundation and countless others. Their support, along with the many community leaders and nonprofit organizations who have joined forces with us, allows us to educate, connect and empower athletes to make a difference in their communities.

I am also incredibly grateful for our staff, Board of Directors and Advisory Board whose commitment to Athletes for Hope has afforded us the opportunity to make a global impact and helps us in our continued growth. To be able to bookend the year with the promotion of two long-time staff members to C-suite positions, Chris Wyttenbach in January 2022 and Suzanne Potts just a few weeks ago, is something that we celebrate and reinforces our organization’s growth mindset.

Lastly, those who have supported me during my first year as CEO have my endless gratitude. To my family, friends and mentors, I appreciate the support, guidance and belief in the future of this organization more than you know.

On behalf of all of us at Athletes for Hope, we offer our gratitude, best wishes and happiness to you and your families. Be on the lookout for our 2022 Annual Report coming in January for a full picture of what we accomplished this past year. Together, we have achieved so much, but our work is far from done.

Here’s to 2023 and beyond!

Jason Belinkie's written signature.

Jason Belinke

Athletes for Hope CEO

AFH News

Athletes for Hope Names Jason Belinkie as Chief Executive Officer

Jason Belinkie, newly appointed CEO of Athletes for Hope

Athletes for Hope appoints its Chief Operating Officer to Organization Lead

BETHESDA, MD, January 10, 2022 ­– Athletes for Hope (AFH) announced today that Jason Belinkie has been named Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2022. He succeeds Ivan Blumberg, who served as CEO since AFH’s inception in 2006 and recently transitioned into an advisory role within the organization.

“I’ve had the honor and privilege of working hand in hand with Jason for more than 15 years and I know he possesses the passion, commitment, and leadership that will help AFH achieve unprecedented growth,” said Ivan Blumberg, Founding CEO of AFH. “I could not be prouder to turn over the reins to Jason and I’m thrilled to watch him succeed in this role – he’s earned it.”

Prior to being appointed to CEO, Jason oversaw the day-to-day management of AFH and orchestrated key strategic partnerships in his role as Chief Operating Officer. Jason joined the organization on the first day it opened its doors and has played a pivotal role in building the organization from the ground up and setting it up for future success. 

“It is truly an honor to be appointed CEO of an organization that has helped mold me into the person I am today,” said Jason Belinkie. “I’m thrilled to work with our incredible staff, Board of Directors, partners and athletes to elevate AFH’s global impact for years to come.”

Outside of AFH, Jason coaches cross country and track at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and serves on the boards of Hope for Henry and the University of Pennsylvania Track & Field Team. He is also the co-author along with his wife, Michelle, of a children’s book, Little Moments, which was inspired by his children. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education.


About Athletes for Hope

Founded by Muhammad Ali, Mia Hamm and 10 other elite athletes in 2007, Athletes for Hope is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that positions athletes to help support the causes they care about through education and community connection. Along with its Causeway educational workshop series, AFH’s programs focus upon underserved youth physical activity and leadership, hospital visits, athlete mental health and a variety of advocacy opportunities.

AFH Staff Highlight: Jason Belinkie

We are lucky to have many long-time staff members at Athletes for Hope. AFH COO, Jason Belinkie, has been at the organization since the first day we opened the doors on October 23, 2006! Throughout the last 12 years Jason has played a variety of roles and met some incredible people, so we sat down to ask him about what he loves most about working at Athletes for Hope.

What do you do at AFH?
I primarily focus my time on executing AFH’s strategic vision from a programmatic, partner, and organizational standpoint. Additionally, I help to manage our budget, assist in fundraising, and help to manage some of our athlete and charity relationships. Since AFH is a small, dynamic team, nearly everyone takes on a variety of roles, and I am no different.

What’s the favorite thing about your job?

Having the opportunity to work with so many passionate people and organizations across a variety of industries/causes is what makes coming to work so special. AFH’s unique mission provides us with an endless pipeline of interesting and impactful collaboration opportunities. We work in a dynamic atmosphere in which every employee’s voice matters, and it’s one of the many reasons I love working here.

What was your favorite AFH moment?
It’s impossible for me to identify just one favorite moment. Over the last 12 years I’ve met so many incredible people and been present for so many powerful connections. Some of the top moments include having dinner with Muhammad Ali, Andre Agassi, and our other AFH Founders before our official launch on Good Morning America in 2007. That was an experience I will never forget. Spending the day with the US Women’s National Soccer Team when they did, not one, but two team community visits in one day to Children’s National Medical Center and the Boys and Girls Club in Washington, D.C. was an incredible. Lastly, hosting our first ever staff retreat at my family’s beach house a few weeks ago was a highlight of my time at AFH.