Conversation: WBCA’s Smith Discusses the Pink Zone

Hartford vs. Marist

How could you miss an entire week of pink uniforms in women’s college basketball? The increasingly-popular Pink Zone initiative recently wrapped up its third year. The mission is the same: to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. But the numbers are growing. Results are still trickling in, but the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association expects to set records for total participants and funds raised in 2009.

The passion for this initiative stems from the fact that several coaches have battled breast cancer. Perhaps the most notable of these is Kay Yow, the former N.C. State coach who passed away in January. Yow helped pioneer the Pink Zone, and now it’s her lasting contribution. The WBCA encourages the Pink Zone participants to support the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.

Progress Avenue recently chatted with Megan Smith, the Manager of New Initiatives for the WBCA, about the Pink Zone:

Progress Avenue: Kay Yow was definitely a popular coach who championed breast cancer awareness and research. How did she help drive interest and participation in the Pink Zone?

Megan Smith: I think when she went through her third bout, a lot of the women’s basketball community at that point really rallied around her. This initiative started in 2007 and had 120 participants, and last year over 1200. So I think that was the big push the second year, rallying behind Coach Yow when she was battling it for the third time. With her passing, probably the biggest thing was more and more schools are donating to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.

After her memorial service and seeing that she was such a humble and special person, that inspired so many people across the nation. I think a lot of people felt obligated to help the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. And the women’s basketball community’s response was incredible. All the schools that were involved really went over and beyond with a lot of their Pink Zone events. It was just really neat to see everything come together. [Read more…]

Changemakers Search for Ways to Use Sports to Help Girls and Women Ending Soon

You’ve got one week left to to propose a way to leverage sport for positive social change in the lives of girls and women. The Nike Gamechangers “Change the Game for Women in Sport” initiative will close submissions on February 25. This project hopes to catalyze change for women through sport and bring real solutions to our most troubling gender specific social problems.

What Are They Looking For? Grace Nyinawumuntu is a great example of the dreams that this Nike Changemakers initiative is looking for. Growing up in Rwanda, Grace admits she “beat genocide.” Grace: “Football is a medicine. Football changed my life.”

Grace now has a vision to provide training for coaches in Rwanda. She added, “With enough of coaches, we will also have a lot of players. … My vision is not for one year, it’s not for five years, it is a long time.” Check out her entire story in the video (Gamechangers).

Video added to YouTube: November 18, 2008

India Sports Project Hopes to Impact Girls Who Have Never Played Anything

The Girls Who Have Never Played Anything is perhaps an appropriately named project to fund a sports program at Pardada Pardadi Girls Vocational School in India.

This slide presentation assesses the culture this way: “In rural India, life is hard – especially for girls. Considered a burden, girls aren’t sent to school, but do household chores and work in the fields. … All they know is work. They don’t even know how to play” (Pardada Pardadi Girls Vocational School).

Video added to YouTube: February 17, 2009

Wilma McNabb Helps Launch National Title IX Campaign

Wilma McNabb

Philadelphia’s Surburban One Sports reported that Wilma McNabb, the mother of Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, last week helped launch the Youth Sports and Title IX Campaign, “V is for Victory. So is IX.” The national campaign “is aimed at educating students, parents and administrators about Title IX, the federal law banning sex-based discrimation in schools.”

Wilma McNabb: “I have granddaughters. I want them to have everything that’s out there that was (there) for my sons. That’s why I am stressing equality for young women and girls. I tell you this – I was not aware of Title IX, but my daughter-in-law was. When this was first brought to me, we sat and we talked about it. It is a great effort, and I have taken on the passion for this.”

Women’s Law Project Carol Tracy said that the goal of this national campaign “is to work toward that end by improving and expanding the athletic opportunities for girls, particularly in middle school and high school.”

Busted: Over 30 schools in the Philadelphia region were cited for violations of Title IX. A major violation is the inequity created by booster clubs (Suburban One Sports, 1/27). Read the entire article from Suburban One Sports

A Good Son: Donovan McNabb recently chatted with Brittney Payton, daughter of NFL great Walter Payton, about the role of parents.

Donovan McNabb on Family and Charity (2:15)

McNabb, on his parents: “They’ve truly been an inspiration for me. … They do something that they cherish, and to get other mothers and fathers involved. And I think that it’s important as parents that you continue to be supportive of your kids’ lives and always be there for them, because we want to there for them. I think that support is very important” (Mouthpiece Sports, 1/31).

Video added to Mouthpiece Sports: January 31, 2009

Photo credit: Suburban One Sports

Mutombo Hosting DC Party; Hamm’s Event Nears $200k; More Barrett-Jackson News

Dikembe Mutombo Foundation

NBA player Dikembe Mutombo is hosting a Presidential Inauguration party tonight in DC. Mutombo’s Party with a Purpose event is benefiting the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which provides comprehensive and innovative public health services in Africa to address urgent medical needs and preventable diseases (Dikembe Mutombo Foundation).

Hamm’s Soccer Challenge:’s Rhett Bollinger covered the Mia Hamm/Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge on Saturday, and wrote that the event “raised nearly $200,000” for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation. The event also “encouraged the thousands of fans in attendance to register” for the National Marrow Donor Program Registry.

At halftime, “patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases were introduced for the first time to their bone marrow donors.”

Hamm: “The more we can spread the word, the better. We can’t do justice by just verbalizing, so stopping and registering can save a life. And we saw that today” (Rhett Bollinger,, 1/17). Read the entire article from

Auction Block: As previously reported on Progress Avenue, last weekend’s Barrett-Jackson auction raised over $1 million for the Hendrick Marrow Program and the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. In Phoenix, Cathy Luebke noted that the Darrell Gwynn Foundation “raised another $165,000 Sunday as … Tony Stewart’s 2007 Monte Carlo hit the block.” Meanwhile, Jack Roush’s 2008 Roush Mustang GT “brought in $100,000” for Speedway Children’s Charities.

Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis: “In today’s unique economic environment, these groups need extra support to continue changing lives” (Cathy Luebke, Phoenix Business Journal, 1/18). Read the entire article from Phoenix Business Journal

Hamm Discusses Celebrity Soccer Challenge

Mia Hamm Foundation Soccer Benefit’s Dylan Butler profiled the Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge, which takes place Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Hamm, on last year’s event raising more than $150,000: “I think we were surprised at just the enthusiasm of everyone involved, from the soccer community (in Los Angeles) to the celebrities that were in the area. They just came out and said whatever you want us to do we’re willing to do, from participation to signing autographs.”

Butler adds that “the most rewarding part of last year’s game, though, was learned recently when a bone marrow transplant match was made from the donor drive held” throughout the event.

Hamm, who lost a brother in 1997 “after complications from a bone marrow transplant,” said, “Our family struggled financially to find out how we’re going to fund the procedures he had to go through and all that stress and strain. All these things we went through we wanted to alleviate the stress and strain on people’s lives. It definitely hits close to home.”

The soccer match benefits the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation (Dylan Butler,, 1/15). Read the entire article from

Changemakers Effort Looks For New Ideas to Help Women in Sports

Women Gamechangers (0:40)

Building on the success of the first “Sport for a Better World Competition,” Changemakers is now in search for the best new ideas to advance the participation of women in sports.

Ashoka’s Changemakers and Nike continue their partnership to identify, inspire and bring together the next wave of innovators eager to change the game for women in sport.
Through February 11, 2009, individuals can propose a way to leverage sport for positive social change in the lives of girls and women. Visit the Changemakers Web site for more details (Changemakers).

Video added to YouTube: December 10, 2008

Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra Looking Towards Saturday’s Annual Soccer Benefit

Soccer’s Mia Hamm and MLB’s Nomar Garciaparra, wife and husband, are set to host their annual charity soccer match benefiting Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation this Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Proceeds from the event benefit bone marrow transplant patients and their families. Last year’s event raised more than $150,000 (Mia Hamm Foundation).

Mia Hamm Foundation Soccer Benefit’s Ken Gurnick wrote that Garciaparra is “using an unusually slow free-agent season to ponder his playing future and focus on charitable endeavors” with Hamm.

Garciaparra, on the soccer benefit: “We have a booth set up where people can be typed for bone marrow match, and we had 200 people register last year and we actually found an unrelated match. Raising money is wonderful. But to give somebody a chance to save a life, you can’t put a price on that. It was huge. And it speaks volumes about what we can do” (Ken Gurnick,, 1/12). Read the entire article at

Billie Jean King Named Global Mentor in UNESCO-WTA Tour Partnership


Billie Jean King has been named as “Global Mentor for Gender Equality” in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour partnership to further gender quality and promote women’s leadership in all spheres of society. The partnership is also funding of Women’s Sports Foundation’s newly-created Billie Jean King Leadership Internship program.

King: “This partnership is a strong step in an effort to improve gender equity issues on many levels and I am honored to be part of this team. There is so much work still to be done when it comes to breaking down barriers to opportunity for women and girls throughout the world, and one of the most effective things we can do is combine our resources, energies and expertise.”

Since the program’s launch in November 2006, a substantial amount of funds been raised or pledged; a series of programs have been launched and funded; a global TV and print advertising campaign has been developed; Sony Ericsson tournaments in certain markets such as Linz, Austria and Portoroz, Slovenia have initiated advocacy, awareness and funding raising activities on behalf of the Partnership; and global “Promoter of Gender Equality” Venus Williams has been joined by Tour stars Tatiana Golovin Zheng Jie.

The program is designed to create real opportunities for women and girls to assume leadership roles, as well as to raise awareness and promote the goal of gender equality. Programs previously announced and now being implemented include:

  • In Liberia, a project that will create a women-only night school program for 1000 girls, and train female teachers to staff the program, in an effort to further equal access to quality primary and secondary education for disadvantaged women in post-conflict Liberia.
  • In Cameroon, a project that will work to create a group of successful female politicians, business women and athletes who will organize various events and activities in support of women’s leadership and gender equality.
  • In China, a project that will aim to raise the percentage of rural women involved in local affairs and promote a more balanced decision making process.
  • In the Dominican Republic, a program that will advocate for women’s social and political leadership through awareness raising activities and capacity building and training programs. One of these programs will train 80 young women between the ages of 18-28 in participative leadership skills to encourage them to rise to top positions in civil society and political organizations.
  • In Jordan, a legal rights awareness program, consisting of 24 legal training workshops throughout the country, will be designed to empower women to know their rights.

Key elements of the program include:

  • A Sony Ericsson WTA Tour/UNESCO Fund for women and leadership,
  • A “Promoter of Gender Equality” player program, which involves players as role models at both a global and national level in advocacy and awareness raising activities as well as direct involvement in specific gender equality and women’s leadership programs throughout the world,
  • Mentoring, scholarship and fellowship programs designed to support women’s individual leadership and provide them with the opportunities to succeed in any and all walks of life,
  • Advertising to raise awareness of and promote the internationally recognized goal of gender equality, and
  • Usage of UNESCO and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments, social events and conferences as advocacy, awareness and fundraising platforms.

The program also represents the first time that UNESCO, the only Organization of the United Nations system with a mandate for education, the sciences, culture and communication and information which are critical for laying the grounds for gender equality, is partnering with a professional sports league for this objective embraced by all world leaders (Women’s Sports Foundation).

Go Out and Play: Women’s Sports Foundation Releases Youth Study Results

Go Out and Play from Womens Sports on Vimeo.

Go Out and Play: Youth Sports in America (2:54)

Go Out and Play: Youth Sports in America is an exhaustive survey commissioned by the Women’s Sports Foundation that studied of children’s participation in sports and exercise. The central focus is on how the intersections among families, schools and communities are related to children’s involvement and interest in athletics and physical activity. Key findings include:

  • Interest in Sports and Exercise Among Girls and Boys Is About Opportunity and Encouragement, Not Biology
  • Girls Now Take Part in a Wider Array of Sports and Exercise Activities than Boys
  • Boys in Immigrant Families Are More Likely than Girls to Play Sports

The report confirms that sports are a resource for U.S. children as well as their families. Children’s athletic participation was associated with higher levels of family satisfaction. Sports and physical activity were also linked with improved physical and emotional health, academic achievement and quality of life for children.

Read the Full Report.

Video added to Vimeo: October 8, 2008

Salute to Women in Sports: The Women’s Sports Foundation’s 2008 Annual Salute to Women in Sports was held in New York City on October 14.

Four awards were accepted in the following categories:

  • Sportswoman of the Year (Individual): Nastia Liukin
  • Sportswoman of the Year (Team): Jessica Mendoza
  • Wilma Rudolph Courage Award: Patience Knight (This award is presented to a female athlete who exhibits extraordinary courage in her athletic performance and demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity)
  • Billie Jean King Contribution Award: Women’s Tennis Association (This award is presented to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to the development and advancement of women’s sports in general and to the Women’s Sports Foundation specifically)

New Video: The Women’s Sports Foundation has a new “About Us” video on YouTube. The theme of the video is based summed up in its first few lines, “These are the simple sounds of sports. But for so many girls and women, these are the sounds of so much more.”

About the Women’s Sports Foundation (4:51)

Video added to YouTube: September 12, 2008

GoGoGirl! Program a Primary Focus of Women’s Sports Foundation

GoGoGirl! Success Story (1:48)

GoGirlGo! is the primary programming focus of the Women’s Sports Foundation. The program is designed to combat the alarming physical and psychological health hazards affecting America’s young girls. GoGirlGo! uses sport and physical activity as an educational intervention that supports girls’ health and wellness in childhood and early womanhood.

The GoGirlGo! program consists of:

  • Groundbreaking Research
  • Education and Awareness Initiative
  • Grant program
  • Community Activation

The GoGoGirl! program is filling a major need, as approximately 25 million children under 17 are either overweight or obese. Also, a girl’s participation in sports or physical activity declines significantly as she gets older. Click Here to read more statistics (Women’s Sports Foundation).

Donna Lopiano, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Lead the List of Featured Videos

Several videos have hit YouTube in recent days:

Lopiano: Donna Lopiano, former CEO of Women’s Sports Foundation Donna Lopiano argues that high costs of organized sports and a de-emphasis on physical education are creating a generation of unhealthy, sedentary children (

Organized Sports – Donna Lopiano (5:19)

JJK: Six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee appeared on Bloomberg Television to discuss life after sports:

Joyner-Kersee on Bloomberg Television (5:57)

More videos after the jump [Read more…]