9 Best Charities That Promote Sports (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Promote Sports (Complete 2024 List)

By
Alycia O'Dell

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From obesity prevention to improved socialization, the benefits of sports participation are plentiful and critically important to people of all ages. Engaging in sports has been linked to improved focus, decreased anxiety and depression, and increased confidence. Yet for some athletes, like those with disabilities or those from low-income families, sports are inaccessible. Fortunately, organizations around the world are dedicated to ensuring everyone has a chance to play. So, we had to ask: What are the best charities that promote sports?

The best charities that promote sports are the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and Athlete Ally. Charities such as Move United and Good Sports work to ensure that everyone has a chance to reap the benefits of sports participation.

Whether you want to help ensure equitable access to athletic programs for inner-city residents, help a disabled athlete access adaptive sports programs, or fund unification through sports around the world, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that promote sports are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to donate. 

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Promote Sports Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact, transparency ratings, and achievements.

They operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some promote sports internationally.

Many of these charities fight to make sure athletes don’t miss out on sports due to financial constraints. Others work to eliminate gender or ability-based discrimination so everyone has a chance to play. 

Some promote sports as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, while others collaborate with like-minded organizations to unite communities through sports.

Yet, they all share a common goal: to promote sports so everyone can reap the benefits.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Promote Sports in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for sports (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation: Funding Sports to Fund Youth Development

Logo for Laureus Sport for Good Foundation
What is Laureus?

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Laureus Sport For Good Foundation a 4-star rating.

Every time sport beats inequality, everyone wins.

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation

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What they do:

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation promotes sports by supporting kid’s sports programs. They focus on Sport for Development Programs, which enhance the social and emotional development of young people, reduce the impact of violence, conflict, and discrimination in their lives, and inspire healthy behavior change. For example, in 2022, they partnered with Nike to launch the Jugamos Juntas initiative, to fund programs aimed at giving girls in Mexico access to safe, inclusive, and fun sports experiences. The same year, they supported 107 programs specifically aimed at reducing violence and conflict through sport.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Laureus Sport for Good has directly invested $150 million into sports programs around the world, reaching over 1 million children and young people. In 2022 alone, they supported over 300 programs in more than 40 countries, impacting 244,116 kids. In the same year, they launched their Sport for Peace and Humanitarian Action Fund to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Laureus Sport for Good Foundation via their website. You can also get involved by exploring current grant opportunities or attending an event

2

Athlete Ally: Inclusive Sports for LGBTQI+ Athletes

Logo for Athlete Ally
Athlete Ally: Championing Inclusion In and Through Sport

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Athlete Ally a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Bronze Seal of Transparency. 

“Equality is a team sport.”

Athlete Ally 

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What they do:

Athlete Ally promotes sports by championing the rights of LGBTQI+ people within the sporting community. For example, in 2017, they introduced their Athletic Equality Index, which provides ongoing, systematic assessment of LGBTQI+ inclusion policies and practices among American college athletic departments. Furthermore, they launched Champions of Inclusion, an online curriculum to help coaches and athletic departments better understand critical issues facing LGBTQI+ athletes and provide them with tools to increase inclusivity. And, they pressure sports governing bodies to develop and implement inclusive policies, like their 2017 campaign demanding that World Rugby becomes transgender-inclusive.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Athlete Ally has fought to make the world of sports a more inclusive place for LGBTQI+ athletes through education, activism, and research. For example, their Athletic Equality Index has been used to assess athletic programs in 232 institutions across the US, impacting more than 4 million students. And, they are a leading resource for LGBTQI+ inclusion curriculum. For example, in 2015, they partnered with the National Basketball Association to eliminate homophobia in professional basketball by requiring every incoming rookie to complete respect and inclusion training.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Athlete Ally via their website. You can also get involved by creating a fundraiser, signing a petition to ignite policy change, or bringing an Athlete Ally Speaker to your local program.

3

PeacePlayers International: Unity through Sports

Logo for PeacePlayers International
PeacePlayers International: Video 1 - Power of Sport

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives PeacePlayers International a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Using Sport to build a global youth movement for peace and equity.

PeacePlayers International

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What they do:

PeacePlayers International promotes sports by offering basketball programming, peace education, and leadership development to children in communities affected by conflict and inequity. For example, in Northern Ireland, the charity focuses on uniting historically clashing religious backgrounds through programs like Primary School Twinning, which pairs students of differing faiths to enjoy sports together. Moreover, their PeacePlayers Allstars program in the Middle East consists of fully integrated competitive basketball teams composed of Jewish and Arab women. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, PeacePlayers International has united thousands of people around the world through sports. For example, in South Africa alone, they have engaged over 50,000 people, while their program in Ireland has brought more than 25,000 Catholic and Protestant children together. Furthermore, PeacePlayers International has expanded their efforts beyond uniting individual communities. For example, in 2019, they introduced The Friendship Games, an annual event bringing together participants from around the world for a week of basketball, leadership skills building, and cultural exchange. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to PeacePlayers International via their website. You can also get involved by hosting an event or following their social media

4

Move United: Increasing Access to Adaptive Sports

Logo for Move United
Disabled Sports USA and Adaptive Sports USA join forces to become Move United!

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Move United a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Sports make us more.”

Move United

⚒️

What they do:

Move United promotes sports by providing year-round sports and recreation opportunities to people with a wide range of disabilities. They offer more than 70 adaptive sports, from Alpine Skiing to Powerlifting, and encourage athletes to sport sample. In addition, they work to educate the general population about inclusion through their Move United Education program. For example, their Inclusive Playbook is a free, 24-page interactive workbook for children that focuses on disability awareness to encourage inclusivity from childhood. And, their Move United Warfighters program provides adaptive sports programming to US service members and veterans with permanent physical disability.

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What they’ve achieved:

Each year, Move United empowers over 120,000 people with disabilities through their network of more than 225 member organizations in 46 states across the US. Furthermore, they have helped create a more inclusive future for athletics through their Move United Education program, including over 500 digital downloads of their Inclusive Playbook, impacting more than 175,000 kids. And, their Move United Warfighters program has helped over 18,000 disabled service members and veterans access adaptive sports since 2003.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Move United via their website. You can also volunteer your time, or attend an event.

5

Good Sports: Equipping Kids and Driving Equity in Youth Sports

Logo for Good Sports
Restore Play

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Good Sports a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Kids who play better, do better.

Good Sports

⚒️

What they do:

Good Sports promotes sports by providing sports equipment, apparel, and footwear to children in high-need communities. They work with youth organizations to ensure that children are not excluded from participating in physical activity programs due to cost. And, they further their commitment to equitable access to sports through partnerships and initiatives that target athletes from minority populations. For example, in 2021 they launched a partnership with the NFL Foundation and USA Football to increase access to football opportunities for children in need, specifically black, brown, and female athletes. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Good Sports has distributed almost $100 million in brand new sporting equipment to programs in need, helping 9.3 million children across the US access sports. For example, in 2021, they were recognized by the Public Interest Registry for their Restore Play initiative, which distributed 27,700 individual play packs to encourage physical activity for socially-distanced children. In the same year, they launched their She Who Plays campaign to support new and equitable access to sports for girls nationwide, pledging $5 million to directly impact young female athletes.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Good Sports via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering or attending an event. In addition, you can specifically choose the type of sports you want to support through their Equip-A-Kid program.

6

Back On My Feet: Using Sport to Combat Homelessness

Logo for Back On My Feet
Back on My Feet Transforming Lives One Mile at a Time

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Back On My Feet a 4-star rating. 

Make moves that matter.”

Back On My Feet

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What they do:

Back On My Feet promotes sports and fitness as a means to motivate and support members of the homeless community as they work toward independence. Volunteers host Circle Ups, where new members commit to 3 early morning runs per week. Once they demonstrate consistency and dedication, they are invited to join Next Steps, where they work with a mentor to develop a personal roadmap to success. Next, the program provides support through job training, financial literacy classes, and financial aid to start their new lives. Finally, members who graduate from the program receive ongoing community support and the opportunity to mentor new members.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Back On My Feet has helped thousands of people regain their independence. Through their program, over 3,000 people received training and education, and more than 7,500 gained employment and housing, with help from over 150,000 volunteers and supporters. And, they have shown sustainable results. For example, 44% of program graduates received increased wages after 6 months, and 83% were still employed after 15 months.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Back On My Feet via their website. You can also volunteer to lead Circle Ups, or FundRace to show your support.

7

Every Kid Sports: Removing Financial Barriers to Youth Sports

Logo for Every Kid Sports
EKS Overview 2023 Facebook

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Every Kid Sports a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency.

“We pay. Kids play.”

Every Kid Sports 

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What they do:

Every Kid Sports provides grants to children from low-income families so they can participate in sports programs they could not afford otherwise. For example, their Every Kid Sports Pass provides families with quarterly stipends to help pay registration fees. They also encourage “sports sampling” so children can participate in a variety of sports. Furthermore, they partner with other organizations to assist children interested in specific sports. For example, in 2020, they partnered with T-Mobile and Little League to increase access to baseball and softball, and in 2021 they partnered with NFL FLAG to help income-restricted kids play flag football.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Every Kid Sports has provided thousands of children across the US with the opportunity to participate in sports programs. For example, in 2021 alone, they helped 12,332 kids access Little League baseball and softball, while giving 21,074 kids a chance to “sports sample” with their Every Kid Sports Pass. And, they declared the month of June to be Youth Sports Equity Month to bring awareness to the inequity of sports participation and the impact sports participation has on developing children.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Every Kid Sports via their website. You can also support the charity by hosting a fundraiser or through legacy giving.

8

Special Olympics: Empowerment Through Athleticism

Logo for Special Olympics
Changing the World Through Sport

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the Special Olympics a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity the Silver Seal of Transparency. 

“Changing the world through sport.”

Special Olympics

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What they do:

The Special Olympics promotes sports for children with disabilities by offering a variety of sports-related programs. For example, their Young Athletes program provides structured play opportunities that introduce young children with and without disabilities to basic athletic concepts. Furthermore, their Healthy Athletes initiative offers free health screenings and education to Special Olympics athletes in a fun and welcoming environment. And, athletes with disabilities of all ages can participate in their competitive sports events, which helps them build skills like confidence, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

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What they’ve achieved:

Globally, the Special Olympics hosts more than 115,000 competitions annually, reaching more than 6.7 million athletes, including people with disabilities. Furthermore, through their Healthy Athletes initiative, the charity has performed more than 2 million screenings, addressing the physical needs of athletes that might otherwise go untreated. The initiative has also trained 300,000 health professionals and students to treat children and adults with disabilities.

Ways to contribute:

You can make monetary donations to The Special Olympics via their website. You can also get directly involved by volunteering as a coach, event staff, official, or unified partner in your local community.

9

Girls On The Run: Building Physical and Emotional Strength 

Logo for Girls on the Run International
2014 Girls on the Run International

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Girls On The Run a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

About so much more than running.

Girls On The Run

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What they do:

Girls On The Run promotes sports by incorporating exercise and a research-based curriculum to build life skills in girls across the US. For example, their flagship Girls On The Run program focuses on building social, emotional, and physical skills in participants while also encouraging healthy lifestyle habits. In addition, their Heart & Sole program motivates participants to develop skills like critical and independent thinking, teamwork, and confidence. And, they provide free resources for parents to help strengthen girls’ emotional and physical health.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Girls On The Run has helped over 2 million girls build critical life skills while building physical and emotional strength. Today, they are a national movement comprising over 160 council locations. For example, in 2022, they hosted Dream it. Be It. Do It., a virtual event featuring keynote speaker and Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles. The event, which focused on the importance of following your dreams, reached over 10,000 participants

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Girls on the Run via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering as a coach or attending 5K in your local community

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for sports. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to sports – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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