August 18, 2021
When the coronavirus pandemic changed the world in 2020, thousands of sport for development organisations were forced to halt operations, unable to provide the therapeutic, educational and/or social service programming or support that many communities had come to rely on.
To galvanise financial and in-kind strategic resources for the community initiatives, Beyond Sport launched the Sport for Good Response Fund in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good in May 2020. The goal was to assist sport and social impact organisations to overcome challenges faced as a result of COVID-19 and to build back stronger on the other side.
Since the launch, the fund has distributed 1.5 million euros in grants to 100 organisations in 20 countries with the support of partners around the world, including Chivas, Comic Relief, Comic Relief US, Degree, Hong Kong Rugby Union Community Foundation, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation, the LA84 Foundation and the Z Zurich Foundation.
Today, we’re proud to release the final report in collaboration with Laureus showcasing and celebrating the project's achievements. The comprehensive report brings together shared learning and insights for the sector, highlights the impact of the fund and details innovations in community support provision through sport that it helped create.
Use of the grants varied to each of the organisation's complexities and political restrictions, including developing COVID-19 specific curriculums, training local coaches and community leaders, providing COVID-19 prevention kits and much more.
“The grant was a big boost to the organisation to re-engage with our project beneficiaries. The fund helped finance community meetings with stakeholders, organise 20 community events with children and parents on mental health and wellbeing and to conduct COVID-19 radio talks, reaching over 10,000 listeners,” stated Youth Environment Service.
As part of the project, a range of tools, learning opportunities and subject matter expertise were delivered by our sister consultancy thinkBeyond. These included design thinking workshops, fundraising masterclasses and strategic consultancy supported by project partners.
“As COVID-19 started to take hold across the globe, we knew organisations working in sport for social change and their beneficiaries would be extremely vulnerable. It was essential that we move quickly, strategically and collaboratively to support our sector, creating a new type of fund that would flex to changing needs," said Fred Turner, Executive Director of Beyond Sport.
"Working through the Sport For Good Response Fund, Beyond Sport and our partners were pleased to be able to bring together a collaborative group to offer both financial support and technical expertise - ensuring that we could all come out stronger and more resilient in the end."
Edwin Moses, Chairman of Laureus Sport for Good, said: “Many communities and young people not only felt the clinical impact of COVID-19 but were further impacted by social restrictions. To them, continued, safe access to sporting groups became more essential than ever. In sport, as in life, we can achieve more as a collective than individually, so on behalf of the Laureus Academy, I’d like to thank each and every partner who contributed to the Sport for Good Response Fund. That support enabled programmes to not only continue supporting young people, but to plan for the future and ensure that when we use the power of sport to transform lives, everyone wins.”
One of the many learnings that arose was the vital need to support and empower personnel, and to provide employees with ongoing support from managers and organisations. Mentoring was also highlighted as an important tool to ensure that peers are supporting one another, whilst they learn and grow new skills.
Award-winning Indian NGO Slum Soccer, which uses the power of football to bring positive change to the lives of those living in India's slums or at risk of homelessness, was one of the fund beneficiaries. During the pandemic, they were able to adapt a number of their existing activities, however, they wanted to ensure their longer-term plans weren't halted. Additionally, they had a serious challenge in refining their messaging and corporate proposals to adapt to the pandemic.
The Sport for Good Response Fund was able to provide support on a new programme messaging framework as well as offer new partners for them to engage with. In addition, the charity received guidance about how to turn awareness about Slum Soccer into much-needed donations. The organisation's founder, Vijay Barse, and NGO origins were the subject of the feature Bollywood film Jhund, which released on June 18, 2021.
The fund partners hope that learnings reflected in the final report will be beneficial to any organisation using sport for social change in their community.
In December 2020, we released an Interim Report which can be accessed here.