Open Field

Play. Lead. Inspire

Pittsburgh, PA   |  www.openfieldintl.org

Mission

Our mission is to improve the lives and futures of youth through sport.

Ruling year info

2012

Founder and CEO

Justin Forzano

Co-Founder & Country Director

Peter Ngwane

Main address

6401 Penn Ave Suite 300

Pittsburgh, PA 15206 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Cameroon Football Development Program

EIN

27-4829728

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The situation for youth in Cameroon is often described as hopeless. There is a severe lack of resources invested in youth, even though more than 60% of the population of Cameroon is below the age of 25. Since November 2016, many youth live in insecurity due to unrest and violence plaguing the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. The civil war has caused trauma and displacement, including more than 500,000 internally displaced individuals. In Pittsburgh, through dialogue with community leaders, we identified 5 challenges that create opportunities for Open Field to make substantial impact in the lives of youth residents: • Lack of transferrable leadership and life skills • Very few ethical employment opportunities • Few positive role models • Limited to no accessible, affordable recreational activities • Discrimination and ethnic intimidation Further, many youths residing in low resource communities have experienced trauma in their lifetime.

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?

Sport-based Youth Development

Youth-led, neighborhood-based soccer leagues that promote health, education, civic engagement, and leadership skills.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adolescents

Youth councilors and peer educators activities provide opportunity for youth to learn and practice leadership, good governance and community service. Teenagers receive training to serve as coaches, referees, and mentors to younger kids in their neighborhood

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Part-time employment training and opportunity for teenagers and young adults who take a leadership role in the Open Field activities and competitions in their neighborhoods, serving as mentors and role models to youth participants.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants

Where we work

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 youth who volunteer/participate in community service

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Youth Leadership

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our peer educators take a leadership role in organizing community service projects at least twice per year in their neighborhoods.

Number of youth who demonstrate civic participation skills (e.g., compromise, perspective-taking)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Youth Leadership

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Each neighborhood has youth councilors who are elected by their peers. They help to identify issues affecting youth to incorporate into soccer activities and develop community service projects.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Sport-based Youth Development

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Youth participants are girls and boys who are consistently and actively engaged in our programming on a weekly basis for most of the year.

Number of employment placements defined as temporary or seasonal

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Employment

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our Community Leader roles in Cameroon are part-time positions for young adults, often past participants, who gain employment as role models. 2019 will include summer jobs for teens in Pittsburgh.

Number of individuals applying skills learned through the organization's training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Employment

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

More than 90% of youth participants self-report they apply what they learn from Open Field to their daily lives, in school, at home, or in their community with peers.

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.

Open Field changes the lives and futures of youth through the game of soccer by promoting four of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): (3) Health, (4) Education, (5) Gender equity; (8) Employment.

Open Field's framework for educational soccer-based activities promotes health, education, civic engagement, and leadership skill-building in youth ages 6-18. The model is effective because it empowers teenagers and young adults from within the target community to play a key role in affecting change in their neighborhood, engaging them in key leadership roles and providing training and resources to build their capacity as role models and peer educators. The peer educator approach is a widely-accepted, proven-effective tool in promoting healthy behaviors among adolescents in the global health sector. A peer, as we refer to the term, not only considers age, but also ethnic/racial background and shared experience.

Our programming provides hundreds of hours of leadership experiences for participants including mentoring, peer education, governance, and community service. Community leaders gain personal and professional skills, on-the-job training and management experience, and access to future employment. All participants learn about vital health and social issues integrated into the soccer activities.

The long-term goal is to develop a model for grassroots, educational soccer programs that can replicate and scale to reach youth across the world.

Typical Sport for Good (specifically soccer-focused) initiatives that target low-income communities often utilize adult leaders/instructors from outside the community. As a result, youth do not engage and learn from coaches, mentors and role models who look like them and have a similar experience and background. Often, youth who want to participate in these programs must travel outside their community. Our approach builds the capacity of representatives of the neighborhood to take leadership positions and utilizes space within the community to improve the quality of place.

Our approach is youth-led, and neighborhood-based. This approach is guided by two very essential concepts that contribute to our success: removing adults from the typical decision-making roles and replacing them with youth who know better what their peers need and removing the barrier of transportation, which discourages many youth from participating in a lot of extracurricular activities.

We create safe spaces for youth to play and learn, with an educational topic connected to every practice and game. Youth participants take on leadership roles as coaches, referees, and mentors to their peers. Youth participants emerge from our programs with new skills to succeed in school and in the work force. Our model provides transforming experiences and transferable skills to youth through sport.

Youth experience:
• Leadership roles as referees and match delegates
• Mentoring relationships as coaches and team captains
• Integrity and respect as key elements of all competitions
• Part-time jobs in their community

Youth learn:
• Communication
• Teamwork
• Conflict resolution
• Personal responsibility

Our approach to Sport for Good is informed by Open Field's decade of experience working in Sport for Good in Cameroon, Africa. Sport for Good, also known as ‘sport for development and peace’ or ‘sport-based youth development’, is a theory and practice for youth engagement and community development that leverages the passion and character-building attributes inherent in sport to create positive outcomes in the lives of participants far beyond the playing surface. A successful Sport for Good initiative is intentional in the design and implementation of activities to go above and beyond traditional sport instruction.

Since 2010, Open Field’s global team has engaged more than 5,000 youth in educational soccer programming, mentoring relationships, travel abroad experiences, and cultural exchange in Cameroon, Africa and now Pittsburgh, PA. We've hosted 30 educational competitions and community events, sent a select boys U-15 team from Cameroon to compete in an international competition for youth soccer teams in Bulgaria in 2018, and supported one youth participant from Cameroon to attend college and play soccer in the U.S.

Once launching activities in Pittsburgh, Open Field partnered with several youth-serving and cultural organizations to reach youth from immigrant, refugee, and minority communities in the city. Since launching Programs in Pittsburgh, Open Field partnered with the Somali Bantu Community Association of Pittsburgh and Youth Places to launch our CHAMPS youth leadership program in Northview Heights for Black African and American-born children and teamed up with JFCS Pittsburgh and Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education (ARYSE) to run programming for newly resettled refugee youth in Crafton Heights. In 2020, we shifted our programs virtual to reach more youth through collaboration with the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh and Casa San Jose and launched our first Girls Program. In 2021, we facilitated programming for more than 450 youth across Allgheny County with seven partners.

Despite the instability in Cameroon since late 2016, leaving millions of children without access to proper schooling, one thing that has been a constant: our presence on neighborhood soccer fields and in the lives of our youth. Overcoming chaos in the country, and with support from the United Nations Development Programme, our staff engage more than 1,000 youth in health, education and leadership skill-building activities in 12 different neighborhoods in three cities in Cameroon. In 2019, our first year running programming in Pittsburgh, we have engaged over 150 youth, primarily immigrant and refugees living in low-resources neighborhoods, in positive, healthy sport-based activities with caring adult and teenager role models and provided summer employment to eight teenagers using the same model developed in Cameroon.

Here’s what that looks like, by the numbers:

More than 1,000 youth engaged in 2 countries (soon to be 4 countries in 2022)
20+ community events this past year
nearly 100 girls engaged in Girls Leadership Initiative and empowerment programming
2-3 educational soccer sessions per week in each community
50+ teenagers serving as peer educators, trained and active as role models

Financials

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

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Open Field

Board of directors
as of 10/27/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Steve Harris

Dentons

Term: 2021 - 2023

Kim Cermak

Athena Group International

Sylvia Nanji

Nanji & Associates

Martell Covington

Legislative Aide for Senator Bob Casey

Matthew Weissberg

PNC Bank

David Hackworth

CNX Resources

Carly Carstens

The Ellis School

Steven Harris

Cohen & Grigsby

Jen Wagner

BNY Mellon

Lance Lindauer

Consultant

Danny McElhinny

Consultant

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? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • 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? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/27/2021

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
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data