Champions for Charity has always maintained a steady focus on young students. "To empower young students to make a difference in the community" is the mission that drives the company forward. But more than just the statement, what are we doing to create that empowerment and impact? How are high school students getting opportunities from Champions for Charity?
Lets begin with our student employees. When a student is accepted to join the Champions for Charity team, it is because we believe in their ability to make an impact with the opportunity they are given. We seek to provide students willing to learn with the opportunity to experience the inner-workings of running a non profit, and show them what it takes to succeed.
Students working with Champions for Charity have the opportunity to take their vision to the next level and implement ideas from scratch. The culture of Champions for Charity is conducive to learning, to development, and ultimately to improvement, and it is because of the desire and drive of our young employees that the company is so effective in creating opportunity.
Yet beyond the opportunities given to employees for working with Champions for Charity, many of the benefits remain with the competitors in our tournaments. Signing up for one of our signature tournaments, whether it is CharitySpike, or Swish for a Wish, allows for youth participants to join a special event unlike any other. The opportunity that Champions for Charity creates is one that is unique to our culture, is what makes our organization so special. Because of our twist on fundraising, each team has the chance to feel a special connection to the charity they represent. For example, the winners of CharitySpike 2016 represented Surfrider, a charity cleaning America's beaches. They were immediately connected to this cause, by simply competing in the tournament. This opportunity, to connect with charities, is one that we seek to provide every individual, because we understand how important that feeling is for young students.
We now hope to improve upon that connection by emphasizing local causes, like those through Inner Visions of Cleveland, that are going to make a local and tangible impact. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, and we look forward to seeing you at our next tournament!
Over the last few weeks I've been in a co-working environment surrounded by other adults, and constantly I am faced with a surprised look after telling someone I run my own business. "Wow, that's very impressive for a high school student" is included in a majority of the responses. While I attempt to be proud at this accomplishment, I find myself feeling almost the exact opposite: ashamed. Not ashamed because of what I did, but ashamed of how those in an older generation view mine.
In pitch competitions, such as Teen Pitch Tank (2016 Winner), or the University of Iowa's BizInnovator (Finalist and Honorable Mention 2016 and Finalist 2017), I always start out my pitch with the problem I identified: too many youth in my generation do not realize the impact they can make in the world. Yes, there are so many wonderful components to Champions for Charity, but the driving force behind the organization is in our efforts to make young people believe, be empowered, impact.
I see Champions for Charity as a beacon for other young people like me to realize their potentials, to activate their passions, and to serve as a vehicle for our participants to see their dreams of making an impact come to life. So to all of the young entrepreneurs, and to my generation in general: let Champions for Charity show you that your age does not define your potential. Show the world that just because we are young, does not mean we should stand to the side and watch. Be active. Engage in your communities, in local businesses, in politics, in bettering the world around you. Make an impact.
Champions for Charity
Changing the world starts with changing your own community.
After over a year since our incorporation, and two events allowing athletes to choose any cause across the globe, I began to realize that while these donations were doing great things, they failed to make the tangible substantial impact we were seeking. Our team began to revisit how we were achieving our mission of empowering young athletes to make a difference, and realized that we weren't quite succeeding. Yes, our participants were connecting with charity through sports, and empowered to raise hundreds of dollars towards their self-selected cause. But were they seeing that money make an impact? What was that $100 towards UNICEF actually doing?
So we reevaluated our model. Our focus now is on bettering our own communities, so that those communities can contribute to the betterment of the world.
We are still allowing our competitors to pick the charities of their choice, keeping the representative element of our organization open. However, we connected with a nonprofit organization called Inner Visions of Cleveland, who showed us many local nonprofits making a visible difference in the community, and began to use those as our primary "suggestions". Take a look at our CharitySpike page, and scroll down to see the list of local nonprofits making a difference. $100 to one of these organizations will provide our participants with the opportunity to see exactly what kind of impact they are making, and hopefully empower them to continue making a difference.
Champions for Charity
Never could I have imagined that after one year Champions for Charity would be as successful as it is today, so much as actually still exist. Yet nearly 14 months after incorporation, Champions for Charity not only remains, but thrives.
In January of 2016, I began this organization as a high school Junior with advice from a few adults in the community. Now, Champions for Charity has 4 adult advisors, and 11 students working to continue empowering young athletes through a combination of sports and charity. Yet as this school year winds down to its final moments, I, along with Wyatt Eisen and Liam Prendergast, can't help but face the enormous milestone in front of us: we're going off to college. Liam will be heading off to continue his success at Fordham University, Wyatt will be joining the Badger family at Wisconsin University, and I will be heading south to Nashville at Vanderbilt University. We are all incredibly excited to begin our next adventures, and can't wait to learn what the future has in store for us. Yet at the same time, this means venturing into uncertainty with Champions for Charity. We will have to leave our current roles behind, and need to adapt to whatever the circumstances may call for in the next four years. It is our hope to continue our work at our respective universities. However, we've quickly learned that not everything goes as planned.
Regardless of what happens, we know that Champions for Charity will continue to make its impact in Shaker, and in surrounding communities. With our Assistant Directors Jacob Connell and Geoff Grossman-McKee at our side over the last few months, we have been assured of their readiness to lead the organization, whatever the status may be. So when in late August, Liam, Wyatt and I venture off, a new chapter of Champions for Charity will begin, one that we are sure will be all the more successful than the previous, and full of surprises and uncertainty that keep us learning each and every day.
To an uncertain and entertaining future,
Champions for Charity