Collage of Black leaders.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Laureus USA Partners with Gatorade, Comcast NBCUniversal, and NBC Sports to Launch Second Cohort of Elevating Black Leaders in Sport

Following the success of the inaugural Elevating Black Leaders in Sport initiative, Laureus Sport for Good USA is proud to announce a second round of grants and capacity-building support to nine Black-led organizations across five cities- Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, New York City, and Stamford, CT.

This new investment and ongoing commitment to equity and access in sport is made possible thanks to the continued support of Laureus USA partners Gatorade and NBCUniversal.

Originally launched in 2021, Elevating Black Leaders in Sport was created to support Black leaders intentionally and holistically while increasing access to sports-based youth development programming for Black youth. This year’s cohort of organizations provides access to free sport and wrap-around programming for Black youth in under-resourced communities, ensuring young people have the skills they need to succeed on and off the playing field. Laureus USA, Gatorade and NBCU’s collective investment will not only support, enhance and expand programming but will provide crucial professional development opportunities for the Black Leaders of these organizations, who often feel isolated and underappreciated, while shining a light on their existing expertise and accomplishments.

This year’s cohort kicked off the program earlier this month on a call where one leader noted:

“I sometimes feel like I’m on an island by myself navigating the nonprofit world as a Black executive director. This cohort will allow me the opportunity to connect with other individuals who face similar obstacles I’ve had over the years. I’m excited for the wealth of knowledge and connections I will have access to through EBLS.”

The 2023 EBLS cohort also had a chance to hear from Gatorade athlete and NBA player, Jaden Ivey, who had this to say about the initiative,

“Elevating Black Leaders in Sport meets kids where they are and invests in leaders closest to them, who look like them, to ensure they can develop as a young person on and off the court. I’m proud to be able to support important work like that through my partnership with Gatorade.”

The nine organizations who were selected and awarded grants, including the eleven Black Leaders of those organizations, are: 

  1. Active Plus, Tarik Kitson (New York City) 
  2. Excite Allstars, Gerald Williams & Penny Marquez-Williams (New Orleans)
  3. First Tee – Metro Atlanta, Marvin Hightower (Atlanta) 
  4. Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program (HJTEP), Katrina Adams and Simone Spigner (New York City) 
  5. Reaching for the Stars, Brian Randolph (New Orleans) 
  6. Riverside Hawks, Christopher Snell (New York City) 
  7. Stamford Peace Youth Foundation, Lenwood Latta (Stamford, CT) 
  8. Swem Kids, Trish Miller (Atlanta) 
  9. The Bloc, Jamyle Cannon (Chicago) 

“The Elevating Black Leaders in Sports Fund is an important initiative to NBC Sports, as we look to support leaders making an impact in youth sports,” said Damon Phillips, SVP, Strategic initiatives and Head of Diversity & Inclusion, NBC Sports.

As we go into year two of this partnership, we’re proud to continue providing resources and funding to these deserving organizations who are at the forefront of building a more equitable future for sports.
Damon Phillips
SVP, Strategic initiatives and Head of Diversity & Inclusion, NBC Sports

The inaugural cohort of 10 Leaders from 8 organizations across Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York City will remain involved in the initiative through the creation of an alumni network that helps lead sessions for the current cohort and continues to share best practices. Laureus USA, Gatorade and NBCUniversal’s initial investment helped increase programming for Black youth across those 8 programs by 235% with 90% of leaders reporting increased leadership skills.