Sports Team Humanitarian of the Year Award

Sports Team Humanitarian of the Year Award

The Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year represents a sports club/team that demonstrates how teamwork can create a significant impact on a community or cause.

2019 Sports Team Humanitarian of the Year Award Winner

Chicago Fire Soccer Club

or their work in addressing the public school student drop-out rate in Chicago, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club was crowned the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. More than 40% of public school students in Chicago do not graduate high school, and nearly 70 students drop out of school every day. Through an innovative after-school soccer program called P.L.A.Y.S. (Participate, Learn, Achieve, Youth, Soccer), the Chicago Fire Soccer Club offers a 10-week program that integrates soccer with social and emotional learning character skills, while striving to improve participants' academic performance and providing a safe and supportive environment to engage in soccer. P.L.A.Y.S. participants have had a decrease in behavior infractions, number of disciplinary incidents, unexcused absences, suspensions and failing grades. Ultimately, the program has led to a 50% drop in crime near its spaces, a significant feat given that 60% of P.L.A.Y.S. schools were in the top-20 most violent neighborhoods in Chicago.

2019 Finalists

  • Anaheim Ducks (NHL)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)

  • New York City Football Club (MLS)

Past Winners

2018: The U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team

The 2017-18 U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team ignited a powerful movement, inspiring future generations of women and girls across this nation, and empowering them to rise and speak out against inequality. In March 2017, the team announced it would boycott the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship unless the players received increased training stipends and equal benefits to the men's team. A successful resolution was reached just three days before the world championship. Players on the team put their careers, reputations and livelihoods on the line in order to fight for equitable support, and in the process, they reminded the entire nation that equality demands that women have equal standing in sports. Their tenacity flowed onto the ice as well, as the women went on to win gold against their rival Team Canada at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

2018 Finalists

  • Anaheim Ducks (NHL)

  • Boston Red Sox (MLB)

  • Chicago Fire (MLS)

2017: San Francisco 49ers

In addition to the San Francisco 49ers collectively donating over 1,200 hours of volunteer time to 75 community events and committing $4 million to local non-profits in 2016 alone, the team is also at the forefront of two innovative and highly impactful programs that use football to make lasting changes in the Bay Area. First, the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute is a six-year curriculum that begins in 7th grade and continues through high school and seeks to prepare students with high academic potential in STEM. During the 2016-2017 school year, over 40,000 hours of education have been offered, including integrated and open lab hours, tutoring, and enrichment events. Of the 60 students in the 2020 class, 50% have 4.0 GPAs and the average GPA is 3.81. Second, the 49ers STEAM Education Program - which opened in 2014, provides informal learning experiences for K-8 students through its program that teaches standards-aligned (Common Core and Next Generation Science) lessons using the STEAM principles of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Housed within the Denise DeBartolo York Education Center at Levi's Stadium, the program has reached over 150,000 participants since inception - free of charge - with over 50 percent of students coming from Title I designated schools.

2017 Finalists

  • Chicago White Sox (MLB)

  • Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)

  • New York City Football Club (MLS)

2016: San Francisco Giants (MLB)

Twenty-one years ago, the San Francisco Giants created Junior Giants to help end the cycle of violence in impoverished areas around the city. Over the years, the program has served more than 275,000 children around California, Nevada and Oregon with the help of 35,000 coaches. And while baseball participation among 6-12 year olds has decreased 14% since 2008, Junior Giants has increased participation 62% during the same time. The program also is designed to build life skills, and a survey of parents, coaches and youth players found that 76% of participants were engaged in more physical activity, 64% read more, 89% said their confidence was improved, and 86% knew what to say or do about bullying.

2016 Finalists

  • Detroit Pistons

  • LA Galaxy

  • San Francisco 49ers

2015: Chicago Bulls (NBA)

The Chicago Bulls' work in the community is a collaborative effort among the team's players, fans, corporate partners, community partners, and front office staff. Community is a fundamental part of the team's business operations and the Bulls feel a responsibility to give back to the city and people who give so much to them. Last year, the Bulls organized over 100 community events focused on youth education, health and wellness, violence prevention, and the military with more than 30,000 people impacted. The team's Season of Giving alone, reached 16,000 people in the Chicago community, with 1,000 gifts and 2,200 meals provided to families in need. Additionally, the Bulls distributed $2.5 million in cash and in-kind donations in support of local organizations.

2015 Finalists

  • Portland Timbers (MLS)

  • San Francisco 49ers (NFL)

  • WWE Community Relations