SOCCER WITHOUT BORDERS

Playing for Change

Baltimore, MD   |  www.soccerwithoutborders.org

Mission

Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. We aim to build a more inclusive world through soccer.

Notes from the nonprofit

In the USA, our programs specifically serve newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth, supporting their adjustment and integration to life in America. Our activities and program model are designed so that youth develop social capital and language skills, advance academically, lead a healthy lifestyle, and exhibit the qualities of positive youth development. Internationally, we have supported coaches and communities across 13 countries in our organization's lifetime, building authentic, community-led programs using the same program model. In particular, Soccer Without Borders has a particular focus on engaging girls in our programs, and will continue to explore ways to contribute to the field of international development in this area.

Ruling year info

2006

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Mary Connor

Main address

3700 Eastern Ave

Baltimore, MD 21224 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-3786129

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Community Recreational Centers (N31)

Ethnic/Immigrant Services (P84)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Newcomer refugee and immigrant youth are one of the most vulnerable, isolated, and underserved populations around the world. Not only are newcomer youth navigating a new culture and language with limited support, their often-traumatic backgrounds and interrupted educational histories create significant barriers to traditional models of academic and social success.

The combination of poverty, urban violence, and cultural isolation creates daily risks for many newcomer youth, leading them to feel hopeless and often contributing to unhealthy decision-making and school and community disengagement.

Intentionally-designed, culturally relevant solutions are crucial in connecting newcomer youth to the services and supports they need in order to help them not only survive but thrive in their new homes. SWB does just this with its engaging, innovative, cost-effective programs.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Granada, Nicaragua

In Nicaragua, we empower girls to reach their potential on and off the field through weekly soccer, educational, and team activities. We also provide secondary school scholarships and annual camp opportunities.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
At-risk youth

A year-round program for middle and high school aged refugee, asylee and immigrant youth in the Bay Area.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth

SWB Uganda provides soccer instruction, daily English classes, and daily life-skills workshops for more than 300 refugee youth living in the Nsambya and Katwe areas of Kampala. The
youth in the program hail predominantly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Burundi.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth

SWB Baltimore provides soccer, team-building, academic, and English language support to refugee youth in Baltimore City.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth

SWB Colorado serves refugee boys and girls in Aurora and Greeley through year-round soccer, team-building and educational support activities.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth

SWB Boston serves more than 300 newcomer youth through year-round soccer, education, team-building and cultural exchange activities.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth

SWB Seattle serves newcomer refugee, asylees, and immigrant youth through year-round programming, educational support, team-building, and community activities.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth

Soccer Without Borders offers cultural exchanges and camp programs to support the personal growth of youth who may not otherwise have access to our year round programs. We also utilize trainings and partnerships to add value to the work of other organizations and coaches.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2017

Awards

Sport for Social Inclusion Award Shortlist 2016

Beyond Sport

TopRated 2017

Great Nonprofits

Champion of Change 2015

White House

Sport Award Finalist 2017

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Sport Award Winner 2018

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Lipman Family Prize Winner 2016

Wharton School of Business

Collective Impact Award Winner 2019

Beyond Sport

Top Rated 2018

Great Nonprofits

Diversity Award Winner 2017

FIFA

Five Star Impact 2019

Impact Matters

Network Board Election 2018

streetfootballworld

Collective Impact Award Winner 2020

Beyond Sport

TopRated 2019

Great Nonprofits

TopRated 2020

Great Nonprofits

Affiliations & memberships

streetfootballworld network 2012

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of teachers retained after 12 months

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Immigrants and migrants

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We measure the percent of staff coaches we retain from season to season, year to year. Having consistent adult mentors is a primary focus of Soccer Without Borders, and crucial to our success.

Number of accolades/recognition received from third-party organizations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Immigrants and migrants, Women and girls

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Beacon Prize Finalist (2020), Beyond Sport Collective Impact (2019, 2020),Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award (2018), FIFA Diversity Award (2017), Lipman Family Prize from Wharton (2016)

Number of students per teacher during the reporting period

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Immigrants and migrants

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

It is important to us to maintain a coach-to-player ratio of 12:1 or less, to maximize individual attention and trust-building.

Number of program participants who receive a secondary school diploma or GED

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Immigrants and migrants

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We track our graduation rate among regular participants. This rate (in percent) is compared to a national graduation rate of 61% for limited English speakers in the states where we operate.

Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, At-risk youth, Immigrants and migrants

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We define this as teams led by a trained head coach

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Soccer Without Borders aims to build a more inclusive world through soccer. As a direct, youth-serving organization, we are working toward this goal through kid-first, trauma-informed youth development programs that build meaningful connections between individuals, peers, and the community. By focusing our efforts on marginalized populations, particularly newcomer refugee and immigrant youth and adolescent girls, our programs break barriers and build new pathways for youth to reach their inherent potential.

We currently operate across 5 U.S. cities and 3 countries, but the need for expanded programming is insatiable. We receive requests daily for new program sites. As a result, we have two middle-term goals:
1. We are working to grow the number of Soccer Without Borders USA year-round program cities from 4 (2016) to 8 before 2026. SWB Seattle was the first of this expansion plan.
2. We are working to maximize our impact in the cities where we already work through a hub-and-spoke model. SWB Oakland, Nicaragua, and Baltimore are already implementing new satellite/spoke models and we have plans to use this approach at all sites.
3. We are working to package, test, and share our most effective practices so that other program practitioners can apply these within their own organizations. One of the most promising practices among these is Women's Sports Corps, a joint venture with Women Win that matches female athlete coaches to community organizations that aim to build their girls' participation. Another promising practice is our English language development program for newcomer refugee and immigrant youth. This program component provides training to coaches on how to create an inclusive cross-cultural environment, tailor their sessions to maximize speaking and listening time, and an activity bank of soccer drills and games redesigned for English language learning. These tools and training, once evaluated and refined, have the potential to benefit gym teachers and sport coaches across the country.
4. We are working to expand our bridge-building efforts to better link program participants to their surrounding communities and create meaningful interactions and understanding across cultures, religion, nationalities, and languages.

After 10 years of programming and thousands of conversations with community members, coaches, leaders, youth, and parents, SWB operationalized its institutional knowledge to create the "SWB Program Rubric." The Rubric serves as a roadmap to build sustainable, effective, locally-relevant programs. With specific targets across 16 different categories from program culture, to team-building, to accounting, to participants, and more, each program's strengths and challenges are clearly identified and addressed. Each category is matched to a toolkit, providing best practices and concrete resources for program directors. Programs are assessed relative to the targets annually, and provided a comprehensive “from-to" plan highlighting the areas of need and of opportunity.

By providing a clear roadmap for progress, and relevant, specific tools, SWB leaders are motivated and supported to build programs with confidence and quality. Moreover, they have a platform to share their lessons learned with their peers, and innovate for the whole.

Above all, trained and committed leadership is crucial to delivering quality programming that positively impacts youth. Year to year, we have had as high as 97% retention of head coaches. The average SWB head coach has a tenure of 3.5 years, and it is this consistency that allows us to form strong bonds and build trust with participants, share best practices across programs, and collaborate to refine our program model.

The collective expertise of SWB's organizational and program leaders is tremendous on the field and off. At the board level, SWB is governed and advised by a range of leaders with expertise in youth development, philanthropy, consulting, program service delivery, health, and soccer, each with their own meaningful connection to our work. In our leadership, all Directors have significant international program delivery experience in East Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Eight of our head coaches are former participants, hailing from the very communities we aim to serve. Half of our coaching staff across SWB are women, a rare statistic on the soccer field globally.

The combination of international experience, technical skill-building, academic credentials, and learned lessons through SWB has enabled us to not only build effective, impactful programs, but to gain outside recognition for our work. In 2017, SWB was named the only recipient of the FIFA Diversity Award. Earlier that year, the US Soccer Foundation awarded SWB its Impact Award, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation named SWB a finalist for its Sport Award. In 2016, the Wharton School of Business selected Soccer Without Borders for its $250,000 Lipman Family Prize for Social Impact and Innovation. SWB has worked with the U.S. Department of State in Egypt, Guatemala, Nepal, and Nicaragua to implement coaches trainings and promote cross-cultural understanding, and continues to receive invitations to present our work at conferences, panels, and in universities around the world.

Scaling solutions that work is no small task. Soccer Without Borders is at a unique stage in our history, with growing evidence that our model can achieve meaningful positive change for youth, but a need to create efficiencies of scale if we intend to grow. We have been working with experts in the field and leveraging our internal expertise to address challenges of scale, and will continue to work toward these goals.

Our program model specifically focuses on five outcome areas: Social capital, Healthy lifestyles, Academic advancement, Language development, Personal development. We believe strongly in a process-oriented approach to impact measurement (see: http://huff.to/2ngdnRa).

As our participants move through middle school and into high school, they have more freedom to choose what to do with their time. Youth choose to remain a part of SWB through high school graduation because- as they would tell you- it is more like family than a “program."

We use and develop innovative tools that help us improve and iterate our process, respond to feedback, and capture outcomes:
1. Outputs: We track participation through the UpActive mobile app and UpMetrics, analyzing trends and comparing results against four participation categories: all-star, regular, at-risk, and drop-in. With activities 3-5 days/week, more than 30 weeks/year, regular participation amounts to CDC recommended levels of moderate-to-vigorous activity for 60%+ of the year.

2. Coach Quality: Our FAMILY (Facilitation, Activity, Management, Identity, Language, and Youth-Centered) Framework details 43 specific, observable coach actions to create an inclusive, skill-building environment. We evaluate this through daily coach self-assessments and monthly peer observations. Our average head coach tenure is more than 3 years.

3. Youth Survey: We conduct an annual student survey using an externally validated survey on the High Impact Attributes, soliciting additional program feedback.

4. Outcomes: We track relevant external data such as school grades, attendance, graduation rates, and college matriculation. To date, regular and all-star participants have graduated high school at a rate of 95% (compare to a national graduation rate of 60% for English language learners).

Some additional key results include:
Academic Advancement: A Palo Alto University study concluded that SWB Oakland participants demonstrate fewer school absences, and increased social self-efficacy than their non-program peers at the same school. 90% college matriculation rate for veteran programs

Social Capital: Overall ratio of 10:1 Trained Coach to Participant Ratio, which increases mentoring relationships. 93% of youth reported that they trust their coach, 93% reported they feel safe at SWB, 94% reported that they made a new friend from a different culture.

Language Development: 99% of SWB USA participants are English language learners. SWB youth hone their English skills for 10-12 additional hours per week in a variety of different contexts with their teams. 91% of youth reported feeling comfortable practicing English at SWB.

Healthy Lifestyles: 43% of our participants are girls, nearly all playing on their first-ever sports team. 80% Participant Retention Rate across all programs, with higher rates in certain programs (one quarter of our participants have been in SWB programming for 3 or more years).

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We created an alumni council and internship/Leadership program to improve our pathways to employment and increase representation of the community we serve in decision-making and leadership positions.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve, Language barriers,

Financials

SOCCER WITHOUT BORDERS
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

SOCCER WITHOUT BORDERS

Board of directors
as of 8/26/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Tammy Reder

Horizons for Homeless Children

Term: 2020 - 2022

Ben Gucciardi

Soccer Without Borders

Michael Sack

Jobs for the Future

Martha Saavedra

Univ. of CA Berkeley

Tammy Reder

Horizons for Homeless Children

Skye DeLano

Outride

Charlie Bustin

Douglas C. Lane and Associates

Ryan Hawke

Under the Influence Productions

Gillian Cassell-Stiga

Free the People

Francisco Quiero

University of Lisbon

Erin Cook

authentic

Leila Milani

Futures Without Violence

Sara Chehrehsa

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Toaha Ahmad

T-Mobile

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 07/12/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/12/2021

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.