Athletes Unlimited announced their latest civic leadership initiatives as part of its mission to showcase its athletes and elevate them as role models for the next generation of athletes and fans during its inaugural Volleyball season, which began February 27. Elements of the civic leadership program include a partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), Starlings Volleyball, USA, and an Athletes Causes program that will provide funding to charities of the players’ choosing equal to 50% of their season bonus. The Athletes Causes program is powered by Give Lively, a social good fundraising technology company, and includes 33 player-selected community organizations.
“Since the launch of Athletes Unlimited, one of our key goals has been to prioritize civic leadership amongst our athletes and community,” said Athletes Unlimited Co-Founder Jonathan Soros. “Having partnerships with the Girl Scouts of the USA, Starlings Volleyball, USA and 33 diverse and player-selected non-profit organizations is inspiring. Our athletes are looking to make as much of an impact off the court as they do on it, which is one of the defining principles of Athletes Unlimited.”
Athletes Unlimited is working with GSUSA to develop storytelling and digital content around civic leadership and around the Girl Scout’s five athlete badges—Fair Play, Practice with Purpose, Good Sportsmanship, Cross Training and Coaching—and the values and activities that underscore them. Select current Girl Scouts will be featured on Athletes Unlimited digital channels throughout the volleyball season to share their stories of earning Athlete Badges and what the process has meant to them.
“We are ecstatic to partner with an organization like Athletes Unlimited that is committed to their mission of empowering female pro athletes and prioritizing civic leadership,” shared GSUSA Director of National Outdoor Strategy, Amanda Daly. “Girl Scouts has enabled girls to learn, lead and take action in their communities for more than a century, and we look forward to raising the profile of our athletic badges and providing valuable insight with support from Athlete’s Unlimited and preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership on and off the field.”
“Growing up in Glen Ellyn, IL I was heavily involved in our local Girl Scouts program for 10 years,” said Amanda Peterson, AU Volleyball Setter. “Learning life lessons such as teamwork, responsibility, sportsmanship and leadership were key in my development and helped factor into the person I am today.”
In addition, Athletes Unlimited is partnering with Starlings Volleyball, USA, a non-profit organization for girls 10-18 that provides access to the sport of volleyball for young girls of all socioeconomic backgrounds with the goal that no girl is excluded from the sport due to financial hardship or level of play. The Starlings messaging will be prevalent throughout the season and Athletes Unlimited will highlight the work during a themed game in March.
“Starlings is thrilled to partner with Athletes Unlimited. Their causes program aligns perfectly with our mission to positively impact the lives of at-risk girls through the sport of volleyball,” said Lucy Pinney, Starlings Executive Director. “The athletes are not only incredible role models on the court, but they are using their platform to teach and inspire young girls everywhere to be victorious off the court.”
Athletes Unlimited is also teaming up with fundraising technology company Give Lively to administer grants to 33 charitable organizations that players have individually selected to support during the course of the volleyball season. Each charity will receive a contribution equal to 50% of the player’s season-ending bonus from the Give Lively Foundation, and players will have the opportunity to create their own fundraising pages to further support their organizations.
“I am grateful to be a part of Athletes Unlimited where I am provided with a platform to give back to important causes that my teammates and I want to bring awareness to,” said Jordan Larson, Two-Time Olympic Medalist, and AU Volleyball Outside Hitter. “I personally support The Pink Fund, which allows breast cancer patients in active treatment to focus on healing while providing financial support.”