Princeton, N.J.—The San Francisco Giants Community Fund, The Moyer Foundation, and PeacePlayers International have been selected as 2017 winners of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Sports Award. The winners will receive a $7,500 cash award and will be honored at a September 13, 2017 ceremony at the RWJF headquarters in Princeton, N.J.
The three recipients have been awarded this honor for their innovative and influential approaches to using sports to improve the Culture of Health in their communities. Approaches include: using baseball as a forum to encourage education, health and violence prevention; utilizing physical activity and sport to provide comfort, hope and healing to children and families affected by grief and addiction; and using basketball as a vehicle to unite divided communities.
Past winners include the Chicago Fire Foundation, MLSE Foundation, Tony Hawk Foundation, Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, Doc Wayne, and InnerCity Weightlifting.
“Congratulations to these organizations and their creative approaches to building healthier communities," said Richard Besser, RWJF president and CEO. "This year’s winners inspire packed stadiums, provide comfort to grieving children and form international friendships. Each effort demonstrates the passion for community that will make our country stronger and can inspire all of us to do more for our neighbors.”
Below are the winners in each category:
A professional sports team community relations department or foundation:
The Giants Community Fund collaborates with the San Francisco Giants by using baseball as a forum to encourage underserved youth and their families to live healthy, productive lives. The Fund supports Junior Giants leagues throughout Northern California, Nevada and Oregon and provides assistance to targeted community initiatives in the areas of education, health, and violence prevention. Junior Giants is a free, noncompetitive, co-ed baseball program for 25,000 underserved children that offers youth a chance to learn the basics of baseball during the summer while also discovering the importance of essential life skills.
“It isn’t every day that we get to share the excitement and joy and challenges of our work on the national stage. The Giants Community Fund is extremely proud to be a recipient of the RWJF Sports Award and we feel privileged to have such vibrant partnerships to advance the Culture of Health in our communities today,” said Sue Petersen, executive director of the Giants Community Fund.
An individual athlete or professional coach's foundation:
The Moyer Foundation (TMF) provides comfort, hope and healing to children and families affected by grief and addiction. Physical activity and sports are a crucial element of TMF’s two programs—Camp Erin and Camp Mariposa—offering youth a safe and healthy environment with activities that build trust, self-esteem, and life-changing social connections. Since 2002, The Moyer Foundation has impacted more than 34,000 kids by helping them learn how to cope with grief or addiction in their families across 50 locations in the United States and Canada.
“It’s a great honor to receive this prestigious award from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Their dedication to ensuring that all children reach their full potential, and lead healthy, successful lives is inspiring, and we’re thrilled to be recognized as supporters of this incredible cause,” said Mary FitzGerald, CEO of The Moyer Foundation.
An organization that is an influential leader and model for others:
PeacePlayers International (PPI) is a global nonprofit organization that uses basketball as a vehicle to unite divided communities. Since its inception in 2001, PPI has impacted more than 75,000 youth and trained over 2,000 coaches from 15 countries in a groundbreaking peacebuilding and leadership development curriculum.
"For more than 15 years PeacePlayers has actively been using the power of basketball to unify communities worldwide and create healthy, safe environments for young people,” said Brendan Tuohey, executive director of PeacePlayers International. “To be recognized as an influential organization and model for others by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a tremendous honor. It will allow us to raise awareness as we partner with Nike to expand our PeacePlayers programming in the United States, with new projects set to launch in Brooklyn, Baltimore, and Detroit communities this summer, and to grow our efforts as we strive toward a world where youth who play together can learn to live together."
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award honors the innovative and collaborative efforts of individuals, organizations and teams that are making their communities healthier through sport. For more information on the award, visit www.rwjf.org/sportsaward or follow on Twitter @RWJFSportsAward.