When access to sport is widespread and inclusive, a sporting culture can emerge that strengthens community ties.
Being a universal language of connection, sport can bridge ethnic, language and cultural differences and bring people together in healthy lifestyles.
philanthropists can play an important role in catalysing the development of a sporting culture to nurture these benefits in society.
Philanthropy can improve access to sport
Whether it be the development of soft skills amongst the youth or the promotion of physical exercise in elderly communities, the benefits of sport are clear. But there is still a need to facilitate greater access to and appreciation of sport if these benefits are to be realised by as many people as possible. This is where philanthropic capital can play a role in developing a sporting culture where there is equal access to programming that leverages sport to create positive impact.
Education is an important part of this process. When students have access to sport at school, they may more easily find role models and experience the value of sport for their personal development. This process is especially important for lower-income demographics where children may not receive the most guidance academically but could find their potential and confidence through playing sports. Philanthropists can consider sponsoring inter-school or inter-district sports leagues, which can act as important springboards for promising young athletes to find a way out of poverty.
Complementing the development of sport leagues is improving access to sporting facilities. More and better outlets will incentivise an active lifestyle and improve community health. Funders can consider capital projects such as the construction, maintenance or upgrading of community centres and sporting venues.
The non-profit sector often uses the power of sport to provide wellbeing support to disadvantaged demographics. Examples include providing social inclusion for the disabled and increasing the employability of at-risk youth in and through the soft skills nurtured through sport. Given the ongoing funding needs of these charitable organisations, philanthropists can step in and make a difference.
Finally, sporting cultures thrive when sporting careers are seen as legitimate and aspirational, and retired athletes continue to thrive in their second careers. This can take the form of post-retirement professions such as being a sports nutritionist or physiotherapist as well as running community clinics that provide access to an active lifestyle for members of all ages.
There is a gap in assistance for athletes to transition to second careers, and in the process show that there is life after sport for those considering following in their footsteps. By helping this transition, philanthropists can mobilise a new pool of talent and further extend the benefits of sport in society.
Making sport philanthropy common
The power of sport to strengthen the resilience of communities is profound but requires greater attention among philanthropists in Asia. Taking seriously the potential impact of sport philanthropy is critical for ensuring that the benefits of access to sport are enjoyed by all. For more information on the opportunities in sport philanthropy, please contact us or your Relationship Manager.
1 “Active Lives Survey Children and Young People 2018/19” Portas Consulting ↩
2 Ibid. ↩
4 “Community and elite sports in Hong Kong”, Statistical Highlights ISSH 24/18-19 The Legislative Council Commission, April 2019 ↩
5 Health Promotion Board, Singapore Government (https://www.hpb.gov.sg/article/health-promotion-board-launches-national-physical-activity-guidelines) ↩