During the fourth annual Sports Humanitarian Awards, ESPN announced a $100,000 grant awarded to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a national nonprofit authorized by Congress, to focus on preventing all forms of abuse in sport. The grant will help ensure a safe environment for athletes by providing training, resources and education to both sport participants and organizations, at all levels of competition, to champion respect and prevent abuse. ESPN will take one step further and provide an initiative that will provide extensive guidance to both parents and athletes to prevent abuse at all levels.
“ESPN is committed to ensuring all youth have access to sports, and in doing so, making safety the top priority,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “Sports must unequivocally be a safe space and we’re committed to making this happen.”
The U.S. Center for SafeSport is the first and only national organization of its kind focused on ending all forms of abuse in sport, including bullying, hazing, sexual misconduct or any form of emotional or physical abuse. Their innovative online training for sports coaches and boards of sports organizations help these leaders, as well as family members, be watchdogs for the safety of athletes in sports across America.
“The Center is incredibly grateful for ESPN’s generosity and commitment to making the well-being of our nation’s athletes a priority,” said Shellie Pfohl, President and CEO of the U.S. Center for SafeSport. “Education is at the heart of prevention and providing sport participants and organizations with SafeSport training helps us ensure that we’re one step closer to creating a culture where athletes are safe, supported and strengthen through sport.”
In the past three years, ESPN has helped more than 1.3 million people gain access to sports. Ensuring the safety of athletes is paramount to ESPN, and as such, ESPN will require that the boards and leadership of all its grant recipients involved with youth sports take the Center training.
“Creating environments free of all forms of abuse is essential in getting and keeping kids involved with sports,” said Tom Farrey, executive director of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, the backbone organization for Project Play, which helps stakeholders build healthy communities through sports. “ESPN’s commitment will prompt organizations across the country to make safety a priority.”
About U.S. Center for SafeSport
The Center is the first and only national organization of its kind focused on ending all forms of abuse in sport while carrying out its mission of making athlete well-being the centerpiece of our nation’s sports culture through abuse prevention, education and accountability. As an independent non-profit headquartered in Denver, CO, the Center provides services to sport entities on abuse prevention techniques, policies and programs. The Center also provides a safe, professional and confidential place for individuals to report sexual abuse within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements. For more information please visit www.safesport.org.
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship.
ESPN Contact: Belen Michelis at (860) 766-1425; [email protected]; @belen_espn