More than $2 Million Distributed to the Community as a Result of the Initiative
Mark Giordano was awarded the first Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, and the San Francisco 49ers, the USTA and DICK’S Sporting Goods were also all recognized with big honors, Tuesday night, July 11, at the third annual Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Hosted by Laila Ali and Mike Greenberg, the event gathered leagues, teams, individuals and members of the sporting community in Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE’s The Novo to celebrate those who have used the power of sports to make a positive impact on society. Highlights of the evening will be showcased during a one-hour program on ESPN, July 25, at 7 p.m. ET.
More than $1.1 million was raised through the Sports Humanitarian Awards, which will benefit the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at The V Foundation. Additionally, ESPN will grant an additional $1 million to the charities of the nominees and winners. In total, more than $2 million will be distributed to the community as a result of the initiative.
“The very best of what sports can do was on full display at the third annual Sports Humanitarian Awards,” said Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president, corporate citizenship. “The collective devotion demonstrated by these individuals, teams, leagues and companies to use their platforms to improve society illustrates an important link to the trailblazing spirit and incomparable legacy of Muhammad Ali.”
Mark Giordano, team captain of the NHL Calgary Flames, was honored with the newly renamed Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, recognized as an athlete who has continuously demonstrated integrity and bravery and has created a positive impact on their community through sports. His Team Giordano program provides resources to 1,900 students, promoting physical fitness, academics and positive behaviors. And the program is working — with one school reporting that 88% of students are reading at grade level thanks to the literacy resources provided courtesy of Team Giordano. Additionally, he stands behind other important community causes, including stamping out discrimination based on sexual orientation and support of mental health awareness. Giordano will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts.
The Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award went to the San Francisco 49ers. The team is at the forefront of two innovative and highly impactful programs aimed at using football to make lasting changes in the Bay Area. First, the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute, which is a six-year curriculum that begins in 7th grade and continues through high school and seeks to prepare students with high academic potential in STEM — over 40,000 hours of education were offered last school year. Second is the 49ers STEAM Education Program, which has provided 150,000 K-8 students informal learning experiences using the principles of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. The San Francisco 49ers will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts.
The USTA was honored Tuesday with the League Humanitarian Leadership Award for driving social impact by providing more than 300,000 under-resourced children with 165,000 hours of critical programming in 2016. The USTA Foundation supports the National Junior Tennis & Learning network of more than 500 chapters that offers free or low-cost after school tennis as a way to engage underserved youth to stay in school and build their potential on and off the court. Between 80 and 90% percent of youth who participate in USTAF programs report improvements in learning core educational components, self-confidence, decision-making and physical activity. Additionally, over 90% of the seniors in USTAF programs graduate from high school and 90% of their scholarship recipients attend college for four years. USTA will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts.
The winner of the Corporate Community Impact Award was DICK’S Sporting Goods, which in conjunction with The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation launched Sports Matter to help save youth sports by highlighting the benefits of youth sports through documentaries and short films. Additionally, they support over 200 Team USA Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls through flexible employment and sponsorship agreements. To date they have pledged over $50 million to support youth athletics across the country. DICK’S Sporting Goods will be able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to the qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts.
Three Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Awards, which recognize individuals who have taken risk and used an innovative approach to helping the disadvantaged through the power of sports, were presented to WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, the Orlando City Soccer Club and The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. Stephanie McMahon helps raise funds and awareness for partners including Make-A-Wish, Special Olympics, Susan G. Komen, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Be a STAR. Her innovative approach to giving back is highlighted through her passion for pediatric cancer research through Connor’s Cure, a fund she set up in honor of a young WWE fan, which has raised more than $1 million and assisted more than 100 families around the world. The Orlando City Soccer Club united together after the tragic Orlando shooting on June 12, 2016, to help aid in inclusion and respect. Though it came with risk, the club and its dedicated supporters crafted a bold, inspired and innovative response, and have helped raise $500,000 through the OneOrlando Fund. The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) was established by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to harness the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Since its founding, RISE programs have reached more than 30,000 students, coaches and athletic staff.
“We share a common goal with organizations like the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Fund and The V Foundation — to achieve victory over cancer. While we still have a long way to go to fight this disease and address inequities in healthcare, we are energized by a deep commitment to patients and inspired to do more,” said Teresa Bitetti, head, U.S. Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Congratulations to this year’s Sports Humanitarian Award recipients, who remind us of what can come from perseverance and generosity of spirit.”