Sunday, March 20, 2011

Inspire. Empower. Commit.

Most professional athletes have done humanitarian work at some stage in their career. Their efforts have been largely successful, but it's important to remember that this is just the work of one person, who already lives a busy life. There is a limit to the extent of a single athlete's humanitarian abilities.

But what if you combine some of the greatest sports personalities in the world to form a solitary not-for-profit organization? How much more effective can the efforts of a group be over the work of an individual? As is often the case, there is strength in numbers, which is why Athletes for Hope has been so successful. Andre Agassi emphasizes this point in the video below.

Athletes for Hope (AFH) is a non-profit organization based in the United States, founded by a group 12 elite athletes who are all incredibly committed to humanitarianism and philanthropy through sport. This elite group of humanitarians includes Andre Agassi (men's tennis), Muhammad Ali (boxing), Lance Armstrong (cycling), Warrick Dunn (football), Jeff Gordon (auto racing), Mia Hamm (soccer), Tony Hawk (skateboarding), Andrea Jaeger (women's tennis), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track & field), Mario Lemieux (hockey), Alonzo Mourning (basketball) and Cal Ripken Jr (baseball). What is so remarkable about this group is that these 12 individuals represent 12 different sports, an incredible showing of collaboration among these athletes, who don't have much more in common than a passion for humanitarianism. In addition to being co-founders of AFH, each of the 12 athletes has their own personal charitable foundation as well.

AFH recognizes that charities around the world often do not have the financial resources to have a celebrity spokesperson or famous face for their organization (which makes me realize how lucky I have been at the Fergie Jenkins Foundation). Subsequently, the primary initiative of Athletes for Hope is to match a charity with a philanthropic athlete, using that individual's prestige to develop programs that further the organization's missions. A list of recent "matches" can be found here. While AFH has but 12 founding members, there are now hundreds of professional athletes that have partnered with this organization in charitable efforts. This is truly sports humanitarianism at its finest.


  1. I really like the concept behind AFH because it signifies celebrities essentially who are doing good with their fame. It's a nice combination of athletes, both male and female from various sports. I think that whoever came up with the idea for this is a genius and I support the AFH.

  2. This organization has some of the world's most popular sports figures. I like how there are men and women from different sports in the organization. It is nice to see celebrities use their fame for a good cause because they have the power to influence change.

  3. I like hearing about the great things that celebrities do to help the community and the world in general. They have such powerful roles and are able to influence so many people. It's great to see them use their position to better the world. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I can't believe that I have never heard about this before. I don't pretend to know a ton about sports, but with names like Mario Lemieux and Lance Armstrong, I'm ashamed that I didn't know this existed. In these days of over-paid and over-hyped athletes, it makes me happy to see some doing actual good with the millions of dollars they rake in every year. If they have to be overpaid and egotistical, at least they can better the world.

  5. I love your blog Mike! It is really nice to hear athletes giving back to the community.