Over the last 13 years, AFH has grown exponentially from its original Founding Athletes to a powerful network of over 6,000 professional, Olympic and college athletes who have positively impacted hundreds of charities throughout the globe.
There is no organization like AFH – one that guides athletes in how to most effectively give their time and utilize their powerful platform to raise awareness for causes and organizations throughout the world. Whether it is rallying over 100 NFL players to film encouraging videos for a teenager stricken with cancer, virtually connecting world renowned athletes with underserved schools to inspire them to become more physically active, or co-hosting the Guinness World Record-setting longest soccer game ever played to raise awareness for global gender equality, AFH athletes have positively impacted tens of thousands of people around the world.
Over the last 13 years, AFH has methodically built programs that align with community needs and athlete passion areas. Below you will find a more detailed description of each of AFH’s signature programs.
When AFH was first created, we were often approached by athletes who wanted to give back to their communities but did not know where to begin. AFH created the Causeway program to provide a road map to illustrate an athlete’s journey through the world of philanthropy so athletes have the tools they need to be effective community volunteers. As part of the program, we facilitate a curriculum of thought-provoking and interactive educational workshops that guide athletes through an exploration of their role in their communities.
Causeway workshops typically last 1 hour and discussions focus on topics such as: the power of an athlete’s platform, whether or not athletes have an obligation to give back to the community, how an athlete’s level of fame may or may not play a role in their community impact,, the value of time versus money, how leadership translates from the court/field to volunteering in the community, and an exploration of different community engagement opportunities. Over 95% of the thousands of athletes who have participated in Causeway workshops have reported that they feel more inspired to give back and learned new information that will help them engage more effectively in the community.
Following each workshop, AFH works with individual athletes and teams to connect them to community opportunities that match their passions. AFH’s philosophy in athlete community engagement focuses upon the Causeway model that features Discovery, Connection, Engagement, Partnership, and Establish (see image below). AFH supports each athlete and team by researching and vetting community organizations that match their passions, making the connection to one or more of those organizations, and then working with all parties to create and sustain a successful, long term relationship that leads to maximum positive impact for everyone involved.
AFH U began at UVA in 2013, and since that time, has expanded to eight additional college campuses including: Ohio State University, Michigan State University, Louisiana State University, Southern University, University of Southern California, UCLA, Georgetown University, and Tulane. AFH U helps college athletes explore themes such as leadership, life skill development, their role in the community, and how to discover their philanthropic passions through a series of facilitated workshops that mirror the Causeway workshop structure explained above.
The AFH Staff then works closely with each team to provide opportunities to engage in meaningful, impactful community work that align with the team’s passions. In the last year alone, more than 3,000 AFH U athletes volunteered 4,500 hours at community organizations across many causes and campuses. 92% of AFH U athletes reported that they felt empowered to do more volunteering after their AFH U experience and 94% of AFH U athletes felt they had a strong positive impact through their volunteer efforts.
In each AFH FIT visit, which lasts between 60-90 minutes, AFH athletes discuss the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle, and emphasize the theme of goal setting to strive for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. AFH FIT visits focus upon getting the kids active through different stations such as dynamic stretching, core and strength building, running, and sport specific activities (depending on athlete’s background). Every month our AFH athletes introduce a “monthly challenge” activity, such as jumping jacks or mountain climbers, which are shared virtually with each AFH FIT school, and participating students are encouraged to complete the target exercise every day, along with at least 30 minutes of walking or running, that they track on a log that is given to them by their teachers.
In the last year alone, AFH created more than 150 AFH FIT Athlete visits to schools and after-school programs across the U.S. Nearly 100% of participating schools reported that AFH athletes positively impacted their classrooms and their students are more motivated to exercise as a result of their presence.
To achieve our vision, the Global Gender Equality program aims to accomplish the following goals:
- Engage athlete influencers to positively impact global gender equality objectives, such as female economic empowerment
- Engage men and boys in the gender equality movement
- Improve the wellbeing of adolescent girls through physical activity, sport, and recreation