Athletes United for Social Justice, Inc.

aka The Grassroot Project   |   Washington, DC   |  www.GrassrootProject.org

Mission

The Grassroot Project uses the power of sport and the platform of athlete role models to educate, inspire, and mobilize youth to live healthy lives.

Ruling year info

2009

Founder and Executive Director

Tyler Spencer PhD

Main address

740 15th St NW, 3rd Floor

Washington, DC 20005 USA

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EIN

26-4594778

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Public Health Program (E70)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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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?

School-based and Community-based Adolescent Health Education

We partner with middle schools to provide free and innovative sports-based health education programs, and we partner with local organizations and government health departments to provide health education and health screenings at community events.

Our innovative model uses non-traditional health educators (NCAA student-athlete role models) to build trusting relationships where teens are able to learn the basics and openly discuss sensitive issues related to their health. Our curriculum has been proven effective in reducing health disparities by a rigorous experimental design.

Population(s) Served

Each year we recruit and train NCAA varsity athletes to become volunteer health educators. After undergoing a 4-day training in curriculum delivery, health literacy, cultural competency, and classroom management, our volunteers facilitate our health education programs during middle school P.E. classes.

Our athletes are not just volunteers at The Grassroot Project—they help drive our day-to-day operations at all levels. As a result of their participation as health educators and as members of our “Leadership Team,” many of our athletes have been inspired to pursue careers in the public sector, from going to medical school to entering the Peace Corps and Teach for America.

Population(s) Served

We believe that evaluating the impact of our work should not be an afterthought or a simple administrative task. Research and evaluation are core to our organizational culture. We collect real-time data on the outputs and outcomes of our athlete trainings and our school and community-based health education programs, and we are constantly analyzing data to see what we’ve done really well and where we can improve. Over the past seven years, we have also partnered with external groups to conduct three separate independent evaluations of our work. As we aspire to scale up our programs, we also think it is critical that we share both our success and our failures. For this reason, we constantly look for opportunities to speak at conferences, share our white papers, and learn from what others are doing in the public health and youth development sectors.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Named one of the best non-profits in DC 2014

Catalogue for Philanthropy - DC

Honored Commitment to Action 2011

Clinton Global Initiative University

Staying Alive Award 2009

MTV Staying Alive Foundatino

Winner, Health Competition 2018

Many Hands Giving Circle

Charity Beneficiary 2018

Hexagon DC

Back Your Block Award 2009

Nike

Community Impact Award 2016

Nike

Community Impact Award - DC 2017

Nike

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 students completing at least 7 of 8 sessions of the TGP health education program.

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

No target populations selected

Related Program

School-based and Community-based Adolescent Health Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2017, we reduced the number of schools we work with in order to deepen our impact on each student. We added new curricular components , and we now reach students for a longer period of time.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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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.

Our work is divided into three main program areas: (1) school-based and community-based adolescent health education; (2) NCAA student-athlete social engagement and leadership development; and (3) curriculum development, evaluation, and communication.

Through our school-based and community-based adolescent health education programs, our goal is to drive down adolescent health disparities in our city.

Through our NCAA student-athlete social engagement and leadership development programs, we aim to empower our student-athlete volunteers to become agents of social change.

Through our curriculum development, evaluation, and communication programs, we aim to become a national thought leader in generating, testing, and sharing best practices for youth development.

Our strategy for driving down adolescent health disparities is to scale up our evidence-based health education programs in DC's highest need schools. We recruit and train NCAA athletes to serve as facilitators of our curriculum, and they deliver the curriculum in middle school P.E. and health classes once per week.

Our strategy for empowering our student-athlete volunteers to become agents of social change is multi-pronged. For all of our volunteers, we provide cultural competency training, curriculum facilitation training, and foundational knowledge about health disparities facing youth in Washington, DC. For a select group of student-athletes, we provide specialized training in program management, and then we provide an opportunity for these student-athletes to practice program management skills by running our health education trainings and monitoring the implementation of our school-based programs. Finally, we offer organizational management opportunities by employing young student-athletes to carry out the core operations of our organization, including governance, strategy, resource mobilization, evaluation, and financial management.

Our strategy for becoming a national thought leader in generating, testing, and sharing best practices for youth development is to carry out rigorous research and evaluation, as well as to publish and present our work at conferences.

We developed our programs and established rapport in DC through years of grassroots growth. Our current staff includes an Executive Director, a Director of Programs, two Program Managers, and more than 50 volunteers. Our Executive Director has been involved in the leadership of The Grassroot Project since its beginning in 2009. He is a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD in Public Health from the University of Oxford, and he has also served as a global health consultant for the United Nations and a large HIV/AIDS donor agency. He has brokered partnerships, raised funds, and overseen the implementation and evaluation of our programs for more than nine years. Our Director of Programs has worked as a community organizer, health advocate, and program manager for more than 8 years. Our Program Managers were handpicked from more than 300 applicants through our partnership with Global Health Corps. They bring extensive training in public health and nonprofit management into their roles. Last but not least, our volunteers serve as the core implementers of our organization's school-based programs. They are all between the ages of 18-22, and they come from four local universities. All volunteers undergo a two-weekend training to become effective program facilitators.

Since 2009, The Grassroot Project has trained more than 900 NCAA athletes to facilitate 8-session health education programs for more than 5,000 youth in 58 DC public and charter schools. A randomized controlled trial demonstrated that our programs have been effective in significantly improving health literacy among DC middle school students.

While we will continue to implement our evidence-based sexual health program, we aim to extend both the breadth and depth of our curriculum. Over the next three years, we plan to develop curricular modules that address mental and physical health disparities amongst DC's youth. We see these additional areas of youth development as critical to the overall resilience of DC's youth, and we believe our athletes are well-equipped to take them on.

Financials

Athletes United for Social Justice, Inc.
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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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Athletes United for Social Justice, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 5/1/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Patrick Nero


Board co-chair

Christine Campbell

Tyler Spencer

The Grassroot Project

Richard Livingstone

DC Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services

Ugwechi Amadi

Nike

Christine Campbell

CMConsulting

Robbie Haben

Carlyle Group

Deidra Suber

CloudKitchens

Patrick Nero

Collegiate Athletics

Craig Lejeune

The Economic Club of Washington D.C.

Robbie Haben

Carlyle Group

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