Sports philanthropy july 2002
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Sports Philanthropy July 2002 . The St. Louis Rams Community Outreach Team. Background. Rams have contributed more than $3 million in cash, grants, merchandise and tickets since 1995. Rams Foundation created in 1997.

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  • Rams have contributed more than $3 million in cash, grants, merchandise and tickets since 1995.

  • Rams Foundation created in 1997.

  • In 2001, integrated Foundation and Community Relations department: four full time people plus two interns -- allowing greater layering of resources.

  • Focused on cornerstone programs.

Team foundation impact
Team/Foundation Impact?

  • How does a team/foundation maximize its impact?

How we got started
How we got started

  • Conducted research on other sports foundations - not much existed.

  • Identified outstanding work in Jacksonville, Philadelphia.

  • Joined local grantmakers group - Metropolitan Association for Philanthropy, St. Louis.

How we got started1
How we got started

  • Through Jacksonville was introduced to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • Opportunity to work with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • Assisted us in increasing our efficiencies, maximizing resources and increasing our impact.

More than cash
More than Cash

  • Never be the biggest -- but if we can work together to identify challenges and help address it’s a win-win.

  • If we can work with corporate and family foundations, we can make a difference.

What we do
What we do

  • Programming/Grantmaking of cornerstone programs

  • Limited fund-raising

  • Leverage resources, build awareness and serve as a catalyst for action

How we work
How we work

  • Rams Community Outreach team focuses on youth in the areas of education/literacy, health and recreation.

  • Uses set of objectives to help narrow partnership focus.

  • Focus on strategic player involvement with Community Outreach programs. (e.g. Cooperating School Districts “Get Into the Game” character curriculum).

How we work1
How we work

  • Have a program coordinator who works with cornerstone program and other NFL community initiatives.

  • Meeting with each grant partner to learn more about their challenges and brainstorming on ways we might assist.

  • Technical assistance, suggestions of other partners.

Creating overall plan
Creating overall plan

  • Identify all vehicles that can be used to enhance an effort.

  • Think outside of the box.

  • Signage, team publications, in stadium announcements and presentations, cash, tickets, merchandise, player involvement, other.


  • Community First youth ticket program


  • Get Into the Game/Cooperating School Districts


  • Youth Football

    • St. Louis Public Schools Physical Education Program


  • Diversity Awareness Partnership


  • Healthy Kids at Play with Danforth Foundation/Children’s Hospital


  • Rams Reader Team


  • Player Programs

    • Work collaboratively with player and their foundation staff to create programs based up objectives of player


  • Examples:

    • Marshall Faulk Rams 28 Club

    • Torry Holt Bear Essentials program

    • Kurt Warner’s First Thing First Foundation

What are the opportunities
What are the opportunities?

  • RWJF SPP has helped to link teams together to foster best practices and take sports philanthropy to a new strategic level.

  • Your team can make a difference in the community, help enhance team image and assist in driving sales/marketing efforts.

How to get started
How to get started

  • Use the SPP website -- gives you general information on what many sports teams are doing.


  • What are your community’s challenges (teen pregnancy, smoking, illiteracy)? And how can your team help?

  • What types of issues/programs are your owner(s) interested in?

  • Who else cares about your issue (United Way, local business association, etc.) and how can this be leveraged?

How do you get started
How do you get started?

  • Convene an internal meeting to identify your resources (financial, in-kind, ownership support, etc.).

  • Assess community and determine your team’s focus. Align this with your business interests. (e.g. developing a fan base among youth, assisting sponsors, etc.).

  • Create a simple mission to articulate what you stand for.

How do you get started1
How do you get started?

  • Create measurable objectives.

  • Develop strategies to meet objectives.

  • Find the right partners to create win/wins e.g. Cooperating School Districts.

  • Develop a few programs around your vision and put your resources against them.

  • Don’t spread yourself too thin.

How do you get started2
How do you get started?

  • Learn to say no. Use a litmus test: If it doesn’t fit your objectives, don’t do it.

  • Get creative -- call on a group of smart people in your community who can help you identify opportunities.

  • Don’t be afraid to try something new.

  • Get out there and get involved.

How do you get started3
How do you get started?

  • Start looking for common ways to work together.

  • From where you sit, you often have the opportunity to point out common ground to non-profits, funders, etc. and link them together. Do it. It makes you look good!

Feel the power and use it
Feel the Powerand Use it

  • Power of convening.

  • Power of information dissemination.

  • Power of professional philanthropic procedure and staff.

  • Improve your community by harnessing the power of sports.

Diversity awareness partnership1
Diversity Awareness Partnership

  • Identified a common community issue -- lack of tolerance.

  • Research showed that if St. Louisans knew what to do they would try to help.

  • In 1998, Rams convened a group of non-profits working in this area to brainstorm on ways to help.

Diversity awareness partnership2
Diversity Awareness Partnership

  • DAP launched to specifically get information to the area and build awareness for the issue and what can be done.

  • November 2000

    • Website launched -

    • Has “What Can I do”, Calendar sections, etc.

    • Print campaign featuring Rams players

Diversity awareness partnership3
Diversity Awareness Partnership

  • 2001 - Formed as separate non-profit.

  • Recruited Cardinals (MLB) and Blues (NHL) to join in program.

    • Print ads in all team publications

    • Appearance on poster distributed to all area schools.

    • CBS affiliate KMOV exclusive sponsor running spots throughout day and in prime time.

Diversity awareness partnership4
Diversity Awareness Partnership

  • DAP is central coordinating point for trying innovative efforts.

  • Part of Get Into Game curriculum - character education effort.

  • Debut of new youth program for kids in 32 middle schools throughout area this fall.

Diversity awareness partnership5
Diversity Awareness Partnership

  • Results:

    • More than $700,000 in-kind support - creative, design, printing, advertising space, office space, etc. committed by community.

    • Recipient of several awards, including “What’s Right with the Region.”

    • Unprecedented participation from all major league teams.

Results cont
Results - cont.

  • High traffic on website.

  • Large number of inquiry calls to join effort -- St. Louis Quest - women’s volleyball team most recent.

  • Partners have seen increased calls, requests for services/information.

  • Effective way to tie in sponsors - Edward Jones Youth program, EDS for website etc.

What does this mean for you
What does this mean for you?

  • Identify a common issue.

  • Be a convener.

  • Position your organization as a lead facilitator.

  • Know your intangible assets (tickets, players, staff, relationships) and use them to your advantage (e.g. printing, sponsor ties etc.)