Sports Philanthropy Network Podcast with Roy Kessel

In addition to the joy of kickin’ it with Roy Kessel on his Sports Philanthropy Network podcast, we shared insights and examples that can help any non-profit or other social entrepreneurship do well by doing good. Just press play on the player embedded below, and see the timecodes for highlights by scrolling just below the player.

Start-1:55, the Inkflow Communications story

2:28, how Lesa Ukman and International Events Group set the stage for social impact in our industry

4:55, why non-profits should view sponsorships through sponsors’ eyes

7:35, how non-profits attract sponsors with story-telling and other content opportunities

10:31, the futility of playing the eyeball game

14:29, identifying sponsor prospects — Fit Kids example of protecting brand integrity

20:15, Wolf Pack Ninjas example of delivering value beyond cash

24:45, working with Saint Thomas Academy on content

26:03, how WeXL creates economic opportunity through content from diverse voices

28:39, helping entrepreneurial clients get out of their own way when it comes to marketing

31:40, clients viewing marketing communications as a long-term investment in the brand

33:37, story-telling lengthens attention span of target audiences…including executives.

Learn more about Sports Philanthropy Network and its upcoming
Sports Philanthropy World Congress!

Spring Break

At the time of this post, I would ordinarily be in class. But it’s Spring Break, so I am writing instead of teaching, and my students are even more scattered than usual.

In childhood, I loved Spring Break or any other break from school. An aspiring journalist even then, I also secretly enjoyed writing the ritual essay on “What I Did Over Spring Break.” But now, as a volunteer for Citizen Schools, teaching a weekly creative writing class for middle school students at McKinley Institute of Technology, any break is too long.

Nothing is more rewarding than teaching young people, especially those in the underserved communities that Citizen Schools reach. Inside the classroom, students’ energy levels vary depending on whether they’ve had enough to eat and how much rest they could get the previous night in chaotic, overcrowded homes. Their expressions during class range from slack-jawed “a-ha!” to open-mouthed sleep.

Their potential is immense, yet still sometimes no match for the forces arrayed against them: systemic racism, under-resourced public schools, frequent reminders of the inhumanity at the borders their families crossed, and renewed threats to their own safety and sanctity no matter the number of years since those crossings.

The students’ resilience is remarkable. One has lived in the U.S. for less than a year. His stated goal on the self-assessment index card he turned in was “to learn more words.” Another writes beautifully and brutally of being forced at age 10 to choose between living with her mother or her father.

“That sounds very difficult,” I observed.

“It wasn’t,” she answered. “I don’t like my mother.”

Despite some gut-wrenching circumstances, there are no outbursts, no behavior any worse than that smattering of scattering mentioned earlier or a typical middle school giggle. The students want to learn. They help each other find words, whether to answer a question out loud or to complete a sentence on paper. When it’s time for pens and pencils to keep moving, they do.

The students treat guests with great respect. One week we hosted Dania Denise, whose creative talents include comics and graphic novels, because several students showed interest in those forms. In a future class, Rudy Ramirez, an ethnic studies professor at College of San Mateo, will share the songs he has written in Spanish and English.

It’s critical that these students see people who look like them and hear people who sound like them show and tell them the way toward personal fulfillment and professional achievement. Too many in this class too often are subject to discouraging depictions of themselves from too many of the too-few people in power.

Much of the students’ writing shows the angst that typifies their age under any circumstances. The best of it shows signs of imminent rage against their specific circumstances.

Last week, students wrote descriptions of the final projects they are committed to deliver when the Citizen Schools term ends in May. One will write about finding respite in nature, another plans poems about a poor family, and another outlined a super-heroic quest for a cure to save her mother’s life.

As much as I used to love Spring Break, now I can’t wait for it to end.

Grown-up writing students may register here for my May 4 class at The Writing Salon,
On Point: Crafting a Short-Form Point of View Piece