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Announcing a New Tool for US Youth Sport Organizations to Address Racial Inequities

September 24, 2021  

Since last year, America SCORES New Yorkthe Los Angeles Dodgers FoundationMemphis Inner City Rugby and PeacePlayers (winners of Beyond Sport’s 2020 Sport for Reduced Racial Inequalities Collective Impact Award supported by The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation) have been hard at work collaborating on strategies to harness community sport to address systemic racism, inequality and injustice in the United States.

Prompted by their work, and with increasing momentum across the world of sport to address racial inequities on and off the field, we are excited to release a resource to help the community sport sector identify potential gaps affecting racial equity work at the organizational and structural levels. The effort was the outcome of a diverse array of partners and experts in sports and subjects related to race guided by an Expert Advisory Panel and thinkBeyond (Beyond Sport’s sister consultancy).


The free online Racial Equity Assessment & Learning Tool (REAL) allows users to self-assess their internal systems and practices and provides steps that can be taken to improve an organization's ability to address structural racism.

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U.S.-based sports organizations are strongly encouraged to use the free tool to help support work to advance racial equity across the sector.

The creation of REAL was inspired by a nationwide survey of youth sports providers led by Beyond Sport and the Play Equity Fund to better understand how sports are utilized to address issues around racism. The survey and mapping results totaled 18 projects in 21 cities based on 16 qualitative and quantitative questions.

These findings were recently released in the report, Mapping Sports’ Role In Reducing Inequality In the U.S. The report explores the unique role that sports have in engaging youngsters in building a common ground between those from different backgrounds and the efforts of these programs in helping to address racial inequality. It also includes several case studies of youth sports programs from across the country.

“The Play Equity Fund supports meaningful work that advances the essential role that youth sports can have in fighting racism,” said Renata Simril, President of the Play Equity Fund. “This survey helps show the grassroots efforts that youth sports programs have in creating connections between young people from different backgrounds while positively impacting kids across the nation. The online tool can quickly provide guidance to help leaders of youth sports organizations. We’re proud to partner in this work.”

The results of the study, which led to the creation of REAL, showed that community organizations weren’t necessarily addressing the systemic aspects of racial inequality. Most respondents focused on providing opportunities and developing skills for social mobility for those impacted by racism and racial inequality. This led to addressing racial inequality as an indirect outcome due to a focus on addressing the symptoms – discrimination – rather than the root causes of systemic and institutional racism.

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The survey also indicated there was an urgent need to help youth programs increase their capacity to evaluate the impact of their work, as well as assess how they measure success in reducing racial inequality. In continued partnership with The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation, we were able to step up to the opportunity to assist youth organizations and help strategically advance the sector as a whole with an online tool available to all and with guidelines and curriculums to help combat racism at the grassroots level.

"The development of REAL is grounded in research and collaboration, developed by a range of national experts seeking to directly impact systemic and institutional racism,” said Fred Turner, Executive Director of Beyond Sport. “The tool is designed to galvanize action while giving organizations guidance as they look at what they need to do to walk the talk when it comes to racial equity in their organizations. It's past time to get real about the issues we face, and that starts with getting our own houses in order."

REAL encompasses 11 questions, with each query having four possible answers that will reflect how each organization currently performs in each corresponding area. Upon completion, respondents will receive a free report - tailored to their organization and the work they do daily - with a score and input on how to improve their program. The assessment takes five minutes and can be re-taken as often as needed to track progress. It can be used equally by organizations working directly with a small number of participants, as by those working with thousands of youth in a more preventative and educational context.

If you have any questions on using REAL, please email us at [email protected]

We are thankful for the support of the Expert Advisory Panel, including Kenneth Shropshire (Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University), Renata Simril (LA84 Foundation), Beverly Smith & Debbie Morant (LISC), Kely Nascimento-DeLuca (The Nascimento Foundation), James Lopez (Play Equity Fund), Kim Miller (RISE) and Lex Chalat (thinkBeyond).  


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