Charitable Giving Guidelines

Due to the overwhelming number of requests ESPN receives, these guidelines are meant to assist organizations in understanding the company's charitable priorities.

Funding Priorities
ESPN responds to needs in the community proactively and strategically. Grants and financial support are focused on four areas:

  • Good Neighbor - We strive to be a good neighbor in the communities where we live, work and play by directing our charitable giving towards programs and organizations that provide social services to those in greatest need; make arts and cultural experiences accessible; work to protect and preserve the environment for generations to come.

  • Access to Sports - We hope to create positive social change by providing funding to scale out and develop curriculum for nonprofit youth sports programs; acquire sports equipment to enable youth sports programs; create or refurbish safe spaces to play sports.

  • Leadership Through Sports - We strive to enable leadership through sports by supporting programs that seek to improve the lives of youth; foster physical development, leadership, self-confidence and life skills; utilize sports as a vehicle for empowerment to bridge gender inequalities, improve educational success, enhance economic opportunities, and foster social inclusion of marginalized groups; and/or empower youth innovation and creativity in technology and journalism to develop the next generation of leaders.

  • Environmental Sustainability - We invest resources in organizations that are working to protect and preserve the places where our fans, employees and communities will play sports for generations to come.

Included in our approach to being a responsible business is ensuring that the grants we make reflect the inclusiveness and diversity of the communities where we live, work and play.


Eligible Organizations
ESPN will consider organizations meeting the following eligibility criteria.

Required:

  • Electronically verifiable in the IRS Business Master File or National Center for Education Statistics database
  • U.S. Patriot Act compliant
  • Organizations outside of the U.S. must be able to document their nonprofit status

Other criteria:

  • Organizations that our employees have volunteered with and have been supported by the company
  • Organizations that create sustainable community improvement and are national in scale


Ineligible Organizations

ESPN receives many more requests than it can support. When a request is denied, it does not imply that the applicant's program is not vital or valued. It may be that the request does not fall within our giving guidelines or focus areas, or that all charitable funds for the year have been allocated.

Organizations Considered Ineligible

  • Organizations including private schools, that have not been granted tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or international equivalency, or that are not a K-12 public school or school district
  • Social, labor union, alumni, or trade associations, fraternal or political organizations, or organizations serving a limited constituency
  • Faith-based organizations or religious programs whose principal purpose is promulgating a particular religious faith, creed or doctrine
  • Organizations that discriminate in the provision of services unlawfully or in a manner inconsistent with ESPN's policies on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation
  • Organizations that are actively engaged in highly controversial issues or use controversial tactics to advocate their position. A controversial issue is a serious matter for which different segments of the community have strong opposing positions and that has an impact on society or its institutions. A controversial tactic is an unlawful activity, or an extreme action that intentionally damages or threatens people or property
  • Organizations that operate or support activities that are counter to the policies of The Walt Disney Company

Ineligible Requests

  • Conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Capital campaigns or endowments
  • Private foundations
  • Underwriting for program sponsorship
  • Multi-year commitments
  • Publications, films or television programs
  • Campaigns to eliminate or control specific diseases
  • Scholarships, sponsorships and financial aid assistance programs to colleges and universities due to ESPN providing on-air exposure and television rights to the NCAA, conferences and colleges
  • Political causes, candidates, organizations or campaigns
  • Books, magazines or articles in professional journals
  • Traveling exhibitions (will consider on a case-by-case basis)
  • Amateur or professional sports team sponsorships
  • Travel by groups or individuals
  • Organizations seeking underwriting for advertising
  • Dinners, galas, benefits or other fundraising events
  • Individual needs, including scholarships, sponsorships and other forms of financial aid

Ineligible Uses and Recipients

  • Sponsorships or donations for individuals or teams (for example, walk-a-thons, contests, pageants, scholarships, or ambassador programs)
  • Activities or efforts such as competitions, recognition events, holiday parties, door prizes, giveaways, and reward or other incentive programs
  • Donations for families or individuals
  • Individuals or organizations raising funds on behalf of another benefiting group
  • Donations that will be used in online auctions or broadcast promotions

Footage Requests

Requests for footage aired on ESPN, Inc. networks will be considered on a selected basis for fulfillment by ESPN to nonprofit organizations that are certified tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue codes. Requests should be submitted to teamespn@espn.com. All requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must meet the following criteria:

  • Valid, current copy of the internal Revenue Federal tax-exempt letter showing 501(c)(3) status
  • Video should not be available for sale
  • Footage should not include appearance of ESPN logo and/or trademarks
  • Distribution not permitted to theaters, networks, cable distribution or outside entities unless approved by ESPN, Inc.
  • Copy of the video that includes requested footage should be submitted to Corporate Citizenship department prior to or after event date
  • Specific indication of length, time and frequency of use
  • Usage for fundraising events only (e.g., highlighted in dinner, tournament, etc.)
  • Three week turnaround (due to legal department administration) after request is submitted
  • Holding footage on a permanent basis subject to approval by Corporate Communications

Speaking Engagement Requests

Requests for ESPN talent to participate in speaking engagements (e.g., dinners, luncheons, award ceremonies, etc.) should be submitted in writing to teamespn@espn.com. Organizations should note the following guidelines:

  • ESPN Commentators may be willing to participate in speaking engagements depending on their on-air, professional calendar.
  • Requesting organization must forward all requests at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the event.
  • Requesting organization must provide detailed letter of the event including event topic, nature of request, logistics, audience profile, number of attendees and length of presentation
  • Requests for commentators appearances during unforeseen programming circumstances are subject to availability and may be cancelled due to sudden news of a scheduling conflict
  • Organizations must have an alternate plan in the event ESPN talent are not able to attend
  • Organizations should indicate two or more alternate commentators to participate in the event/program should requested talent not be available
  • In the event of an emergency, ESPN will notify organization if commentator cannot attend the event
  • Requesting organization must notify ESPN within 48 hours if event is canceled or postponed
  • Requests from for-profit organizations will be deferred to commentator or agent directly

Disney Park Ticket Requests

  • Disney park tickets may be used for fundraising efforts only
  • One request per nonprofit charitable organization will be accepted within a 12-month period
  • Requests must be received a minimum of 60 days and no more than six months prior to the event date
  • Donations must be made directly to the charitable organization and not to an alternative delivery address

To apply for an ESPN grant, please fill out a grant application