Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

October 2021

RWJF Recognizes Community-Based Sports Organizations

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently announced the winners of its Sports Award, which honors the innovative and collaborative efforts of individuals, organizations and teams that are making their communities healthier through sport. This year's winners include The Dance Institute of Washington, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Make The World Better, Move United, and YEAH! Yoga. The winners will receive a $25,000 cash prize.

Introduced in 2015, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award recognizes professional sports teams, athletes, coaches and community-based organizations that use sports to catalyze and sustain changes to make communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play. RWJF recognizes organizations that bring a deep understanding of community needs and acknowledge the power of sports to connect us and make us healthier, no matter our race, gender, abilities or economic background.

"I am amazed by the work of this year's winners and their commitment to using sport as a vehicle to achieve health equity," said Allyn Brooks-LaSure, RWJF vice president of communications. "We know that removing barriers to safe play is essential to building a Culture of Health, and our winners provide wonderful examples of that."

The winners for 2021 include:

  • The Dance Institute of Washington: This leading minority-led, pre-professional dance equity organization in Washington, D.C., inspires racial and economic equity in dance locally, nationally and across the globe. Executive Director Kahina Haynes said the award will help the organization expand dance training and support services to improve young people's physical and mental health.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation: LADF uses its platform and programs to tackle pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, healthcare, homelessness and social justice for all Angelenos. "Through an approach that focuses on the comprehensive needs of young people, we aggressively tackle the most pressing challenges that Angelenos face by providing access and opportunity for those who need supports the most," said CEO Nichol Whiteman.
  • Make the World Better: Founded in 2014 by former Eagles player Connor Barwin, Make the World Better connects people and inspires stewardship through public space revitatlization projects in Philadelphia.
  • Move United: This national nonprofit provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence and fitness through participation in community sports, including competition, recreation and educational programs. "Like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Move United is committed to making communities healthier, while driving inclusion for people with disabilities," said Executive Director Glenn Merry. "Sport has the power to change the world, pushing people further and bringing people closer."
  • YEAH! Yoga teachers culturally accessible, trauma-informed and healing-focused yoga and mindfulness to youth involved with or affected by the carceral system. "As a small but mighty nonprofit, we are humbled by the recognition of the value of our work sharing the tools of yoga and mindfulness with youth impacted by the carceral system," said Director of Programs and Operations Emilia Aguinaga. "We are grateful for the funds attached to the award, which will allow us to expand our offerings and increase our reach to support more youth in their healing and self-empowerment.

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