In the last decade many sports leagues, teams and athletes have began strategic philanthropy campaigns. Strategic Philanthropy is particularly evident in professional teams "that have developed a series of cost-benefit analyses to measure long-termreturns of giving and of social responsibility programs" (Burlingame, p. 475). Through the impact of strong community relations and foundation departments, professional sports leagues, teams and athletes can create a positive image for themselves while giving back to the community. This positive image can create more revenue for the team and/or league, through an increase in ticket, and merchandise sales. Increase in revenue will also trickle down to athletes in their salaries and sponsorship packages.
Currently all professional sports leagues and teams have some kind of philanthropy project that they are involved in. Professional sports leagues and teams tend to focus on bettering children's lives. Through programs such as the NBA's Read to Achieve Program, and Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins Cornerstones for Kids, many youth have gained skills that they may not have been given the opportunity to learn.
The trend of increased sports philanthropy has also been seen in the creation of professional athletes foundations. Many professional athletes, such as Derek Jeter and Mia Hamm have started their own foundations. Many of these athlete foundations focus on youth, but some also focus on promoting the facts and curing a specific disease.
© 2002 Nancy Benton Parish