Sports 4 Life Delivers Big Benefits for Girls of Color

Sports 4 Life is a national initiative co-founded by the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) and espnW. It was established in 2014 and seeks to increase participation of girls of color in youth sports. It has so far impacted over 60,000 girls of color, and its recently released report shows gains in girls’ leadership, self-esteem, confidence and perseverance resulting from their participation in the program.

(Photo Credit: Sports 4 Life)


2020 has been defined by the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for racial justice. Improving the physical and mental health—and leadership capacities—of girls of color is one way to help them navigate COVID and beyond. The WSF and espnW (“a voice for the woman who loves sports”), Sports 4 Life partnership is funding local sports programs, filling in the gaps to access and opportunity that often confront girls of color.

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Phaidra Knight Elected President of Women’s Sports Foundation

New York, N.Y. (September 30, 2020): The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) announced today its president-elect and two new members joining the Board of Trustees. World Rugby Hall of Famer Phaidra Knight was voted in as president-elect, and is joined by newly-elected Board members Brett Goodman and LaChina Robinson. Knight has been serving as a WSF Trustee since 2018, and now Goodman and Robinson join the elite group of cross-sector experts that help guide the Women’s Sports Foundation’s operations as well as its mission, to unlock the possibilities in every girl and woman through the power of sport.

Phaidra Knight was voted in as president-elect of the Women’s Sports Foundation, and is joined by newly-elected board members Brett Goodman and LaChina Robinson. (Image credit: WSF)

“We are thrilled for Phaidra and excited to welcome Brett and LaChina – amazing professionals who are fellow game-changers in our fight for gender equity in sports,” said WSF CEO, Deborah Antoine. “Each brings a wonderfully diverse range of knowledge and experiences to WSF, and we look forward to working together, and advancing our mission, to unlock the potential of girls and women in sport and in life.”

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Sexism in Ballet: Dance Data Project Report is En Pointe

A newly published Dance Data Project (DDP) “Season Overview” report indicates that men choreographed 72 percent of works produced by the United States’ top 50 ballet companies during the 2019-20 season. While the gender disparity is significant; the figure represents an improvement over 2018-19 when 81 percent of works were choreographed by men. Nevertheless, as the report indicates, ballet equity has a long way to go.

Tamara Rojo as Frida in “Broken Wings” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Photo by Laurent Liotardo.

“The entire DDP team is inspired by the rising number of commissioned women’s works,” said Liza Yntema, DDP Founder and President. “Yet, inequity is still present in some of the most notable categories of performance. Works choreographed by men continue to overwhelmingly populate the main stage, while women’s works are often relegated to special programs and sandwiched into male-dominated mixed bills.” Yntema also worries that women’s gains will be lost if company directors perceive that hiring more men represents a “safe choice” in a turbulent economy. Such thinking will make it more difficult to attract the new audiences that are critical to ballet’s survival.

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Sports 4 Life Grants Aim to Increase Sports for Girls of Color

Sports 4 Life, a national initiative co-founded by the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) and espnW (“a voice for the woman who loves sports”), was established in 2014 to increase participation of girls of color in youth sports. Recently, Sports 4 Life announced their 2020 grants which will help African American and Latino girls overcome barriers to sports participation.

Twenty-five organizations based in 13 states and Washington, D.C. received the awards which totaled $175,000. The grants aim to augment and diversify sports opportunities for more than 7,700 middle and high school girls, and included funding for programs representing 23 different sports.

(Photo Credit: Sports 4 Life)

The impetus for Sports 4 Life is the recognition that the benefits of participation in sports—which include improved physical and mental health, as well as better grades and improved leadership skills—often disproportionately exclude African American and Latino girls. Historic racial injustices lie at the root of disparities in access to sports participation, and these gaps have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Platforms for Good: Summer Sanders and Plan International USA

On February 20, 2020, global development organization Plan International USA announced its newest Ambassador, Summer Sanders Schlopy.

An Olympic athlete and most decorated U.S. swimmer in the 1992 Olympics, Summer is known for using her platform for good. She rose to precedence as a member of Stanford’s swimming team, taking on the 1992 National Championship and Olympic Games. In Barcelona, Summer became the most decorated U.S. swimmer with one bronze, one silver, and two gold medals.

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Summer Sanders Schlopy joins Plan International USA as their newest celebrity ambassador. (Photo Credit: Outside Online)

In the early 1990s, Summer turned to television, commentating the NCAA Swimming Championships for CBS Sports, and hosting MTV’s surf-and-sun competition show Sandblast. Her numerous television accolades include correspondent, co-host, and host for a range of sporting events, TV series, and competition shows.

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With Research and Equity Project, WSF Raises Stakes

WSF releases new national research report – Chasing Equity: The Triumphs, Challenges and Opportunities in Sports for Girls and Women – a comprehensive, current landscape analysis;

And launches The Equity Project, a new national campaign to galvanize leaders across sectors to help drive paradigm-shifting change that transcends sports

NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — With the start of a new decade, 2020, and the golden anniversary of Title IX on the near horizon, 2022, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) is staking a bold stand to gain true, lasting equity for girls and women in sports and beyond. Today the Foundation released its new national research report – Chasing Equity: The Triumphs, Challenges and Opportunities in Sports for Girls and Women – a comprehensive analysis of the current landscape and all its challenges, barriers, progress and opportunities, accompanied by a robust aggregate of calls to action to drive change.

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Back to School: Women Donors and Higher Education

higher education
Roberta “Bertie” Buffett Elliott, who donated $100 million to fund the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University, recently visited the campus. (Photo credit: Buffett Institute for Global Studies)

Institutions of higher learning are major recipients of philanthropic gifts, and received donations totaling nearly $47 billion in 2018 (a more than seven percent increase from the year previous). This rise is fueled in part by an increasingly wealthy, educated and philanthropically active group of women who are willing to make big ticket donations to colleges and universities.

Major female donors to higher education have included Roberta “Bertie” Buffett Elliott, who in 2015 gave her alma mater Northwestern University $100 million to fund the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies. The gift from Elliott, a member of Northwestern’s class of 1954, represents the single largest gift in the Evanston, Illinois school’s history.

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Two Sponsors Give USWNT $1.2 Mil. What about Coke, Nike, Visa…?

Many on social media celebrated Secret’s announcement that it was taking action to close the pay gap for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. (Image Credit: Secret on Twitter)

The fight for equal pay for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has garnered as much attention as their on-field exploits, which culminated in their Women’s World Cup win in France on July 7. While many companies are now talking a good game about gender equity, two sponsoring companies—Luna Bars and Secret Deodorant—have stepped up and pledged money to the women’s team and its players.

The members of the U.S. Women’s team filed a gender discrimination suit against U.S. Soccer in March, and the two sides have agreed to mediation. Former U.S. star goalkeeper Hope Solo filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer nearly a year ago, also charging the Federation with pay and other discrimination. Her lawyers filed a motion on July 22 in Northern California District Court that she be allowed to join the mediation.

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Wasserman Launches The Collective with $1 Mil for Women in Sports

Thayer Lavielle, Executive Vice President at The Collective. (Photo Credit: Thayer Lavielle, LinkedIn)

She can. She did. She will.

The powerful video encapsulating the new mission of “The Collective” speaks to women around the world. As Wasserman Media Group’s newest initiative to support the advancement of female athletes and entertainers, The Collective is an agency focused on change.

Wasserman unveiled the new initiative on July 13. The Collective is a new division of the company dedicated to women’s representation, and it formalizes the media mogul’s long-standing commitment to the cause.

“The Collective is being launched to raise the visibility of women in sports, entertainment, and culture,” reads the press release. The new division will deliver “unique strategy, insights, and ideas for talent, brands, and properties focused on empowering and speaking to women.”

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U.S. Women’s Team Gets a Parade, but Still Getting Fouled on Pay

The stellar athleticism of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team is unsurpassed, yet their equal pay lawsuit has not yet produced a positive result. (Image Credit: USWNT on Twitter)

During the Women’s World Cup final match—won by the U.S. 2-0 over the Netherlands—and again during the ticker tape parade three days later in Lower Manhattan, the chant of “Equal pay, equal pay, equal pay” rose from the crowd.

The women collected about $250,000 each in bonuses for being members of the championship team, but had the men’s team done the same, the payday would have been many times greater. The 2018 Cup-winning French team got $38 million in prize money, while the U.S. women’s squad got four million for their victory.

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