Educate. Inspire. Mobilize.



Grassroot Soccer is an adolescent health organization that leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize at-risk youth in developing countries to overcome their greatest health challenges, live healthier, more productive lives, and be agents for change in their communities.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Dr. Thomas Clark

Main address

PO Box 632

HANOVER, NH 03755-2124 USA

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NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

AIDS (G81)

IRS filing requirement

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

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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?

SKILLZ Health and LIfeskills programs

Grassroot Soccer’s ‘SKILLZ’ curriculum focuses on building basic life skills that help boys and girls adopt healthy behaviors and live risk-free. Through a series of interactive activities and discussions students gain a tangible understanding of HIV and AIDS and get a chance to practice the skills necessary for sustainable behavior change. They also have important discussions about their sexual health and rights, gender-based violence, and gender norms. Key curricular topics include making healthy decisions, avoiding risks, building support networks, reducing stigma and discrimination, increasing knowledge about testing and treatment, addressing gender issues, and assessing values. Programs are delivered by trained Coaches, who are local community leaders and role models.

Population(s) Served

HIV testing is made available to entire communities through Grassroot Soccer’s volunteer-led community soccer tournaments. By combining a fun day of soccer and games with free and easy access to health services, Grassroot Soccer reaches thousands of youth and community members each year.

Population(s) Served

Through "Bridging the Gap" programming, Grassroot Soccer actively engages with HIV+ youth by providing them referral and follow-up to treatment.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Women Deliver 50 - Top innovative ideas and solutions for girls and women around the globe. 2012

Women Deliver

Ten Leading Socially Engaged Nonprofits 2012

Finalist, Sport for Health Category, Beyond Sport Awards (for GRS South Africa) 2011

Beyond Sport

Winner, Nike/Ashoka Sports for a Better World Collaborative Competition (one of 3) 2008

Nike & Ashoka

Impact Award 2008


Classy Award Winner 2017


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 receiving information on HIV/AIDS and STDs

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


Related Program

SKILLZ Health and LIfeskills programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This reflects the number of youth participants in our programs, who all receive this information. We also produce content for radio and TV the reach millions in the countries they are aired.

Number of youth who have a positive adult role model

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


Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

All participants in Grassroot Soccer programs have access to a positive adult role model, a GRS "Caring 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.

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is an adolescent health organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize young people to overcome their greatest health challenges, live healthier lives, and be agents of change in their communities. GRS focuses its work on three core areas: improving knowledge, attitudes and communication around HIV and other health issues; igniting positive behavior change among adolescents; and linking adolescents to life-saving health services.

There is a global “adolescent gap" when it comes to knowledge about and utilization of health services, and as a result, young people are being left behind. While global HIV infection rates have dropped 50% over the last decade, they have increased 30% in adolescents. GRS recognizes that adolescents are vital part of community development, and that soccer is an effective platform for ensuring they have the information and access to foster a lifetime of healthy behaviors.

The primary beneficiaries of GRS's work are adolescents and young adults ages 13-25. GRS implements life skills and health education programs that focus on a range of relevant issues, including: HIV/AIDS, malaria, gender, sexual & reproductive health, physical activity and financial literacy. The goals of GRS programs are to improve knowledge, attitudes and communication and promote positive behavior change.

GRS Coaches, who are 18- to 25-year old community leaders, function as a critical link between young people and health services by encouraging testing/screening for STIs and HIV, facilitating referrals to care and treatment, and providing information and support to young people as they navigate the difficult world of adolescence.

Engagement with parents, guardians and community members is a critical component of GRS's work. Coaches and staff conduct home visits to educate parents and guardians about GRS programs and approach; GRS also hosts soccer tournaments that double as community health events, where participants play soccer while community members interact with health care providers. These tournaments provide regular access to HIV testing and counseling, STI and cervical cancer screening, referrals for medical male circumcision, resources for addressing gender-based violence, and other sexual and reproductive health and rights services.

GRS currently implements its programs in five flagship sites across Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa. Through technical assistance provided to partners, including the U.S. Peace Corps and Special Olympics, GRS programs are implemented in over 25 developing countries.

GRS has set an ambitious goal of reaching 5 million adolescents with critical health education, linkages to health services, and life skills in the next 5 years by building partnerships and sharing our approach with international organizations, government entities, private companies and community based groups.

GRS's strategy for continuing to implement and eventually scale its effective, evidence-based programs is based on a dual vision for GRS. On the one hand, GRS affiliates in South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe function as incubators for quality program design, implementation, and evaluation. GRS invests in its affiliates in order to test and evaluate current and new approaches. Through rigorous monitoring & evaluation, including quantitative and qualitative measures, GRS takes an iterative approach to its program design to ensure that it is always meeting the unique and shifting health needs of adolescents.

GRS takes the lessons learned from its flagships to provide technical assistance to partners on how to best use soccer to promote adolescent health. GRS engages with partners as a direct technical assistance lead, providing hands-on training and support; in an advisory capacity, providing input on program and curriculum design of other organizations; and as a thought leader, providing input on policy. This “depth and breadth" approach will continue to allow GRS to maintain a high level of quality in its programs while scaling its impact through partners.

All of GRS's programs are underpinned by a commitment to research and evaluation. GRS has conducted over 25 evaluations of its programs, including four randomized controlled trials.

GRS programs comprise the following Strategic Imperatives:
Positive role models, especially in adolescence, can create meaningful change at the individual level. GRS is committed to building local role models (GRS Coaches) through specific recruitment strategies and ongoing training & mentoring.
Soccer is the world's game and brings people together with a common language. Coupling soccer's popularity with active learning theory and sport infrastructure, GRS generates a unique level of communication and trust with community members.
Adolescent health in developing nations is a major priority and ideal space for GRS to have impact. The relevance of HIV & AIDS is undeniable and continues to be the primary area of work, but over the next five years GRS will continue to broaden its programming to include other key adolescent health issues.

In the near term, GRS is focused on ensuring that its flagship sites are consistently and fully funded, and that program implementation is of an extraordinary quality. GRS ensures this by securing, where possible, multi-year funding commitments from donors through a variety of revenue-generating activities in the US, UK and in country, and through opportunities to engage at policy levels. Additionally, GRS conducts annual reviews of its programs to maintain quality across its flagship sites.

GRS is committed to building partnerships with health care providers, international bodies, government entities, other non-governmental organizations and research institutions to inform and integrate its efforts with the growing international work devoted to improving adolescent health.

As with many development organizations, GRS's core assets lies within its people.
GRS leadership and four engaged co-founders who continue to drive the organization forward.
A Global Board of Directors who are leaders in their fields – finance, healthcare, advertising, advocacy – and who are financially and emotionally committed to Grassroot Soccer's success.
Staff and volunteer interns all bring unique and varying skills, experience and expertise, as well as a collaborative spirit.
GRS Coaches who are demonstrated community leaders committed to catalyzing positive change.
GRS maintains a strong internal pipeline of talent, with opportunities for staff development, promotion and retention, particularly at the program level.
Early in its organizational development, GRS invested heavily in developing its brand of soccer-based learning, building trust with local communities and international partners.
Soccer – internally this is a major motivating factor for all those connected to GRS. Not everyone has a playing background, but everyone has seen firsthand the power of soccer to bring people together and create meaningful relationships.
Soccer will remain the world's sport for some time. As such, it is the perfect 'hook' for participants, governments, and donors.
A broad and diverse range of donors and supporters, including government aid agencies, private foundations, corporations and corporate foundations, individuals and other non-governmental organizations.
A strong and connected range of partners, who contribute to GRS's success through collaboration, sharing of knowledge and experience, and complementary skills and experience.

Reimagining Impact: In the 12 years since its founding, GRS has moved from measuring impact solely by the number of young people who participate in its programs to consistently and effectively measuring changes in knowledge, attitudes, and communication; indirectly measuring behavior change in adolescents; and monitoring uptake of health services by adolescents. This demonstrates a belief that knowledge is an important part of sustainable and positive change, but that it has to be accompanied by positive behavior change and an enabling environment in which adolescents can exercise agency. The opportunity in this reimagining is that we are measuring real change over time; the risk is that it is difficult to measure behavior change (for example) without relying on human input. GRS has set itself the challenge of drawing on broader research and modeling to represent its impact in stronger ways, while maintaining the humility to know that real impact takes time.

Partnerships: Since its founding, GRS leadership has recognized the importance of partnerships, but only recently was the decision made to proactively invest in partnerships in order to achieve broader impact and scale. To date, GRS partnerships have been ad-hoc; today, GRS is actively seeking investment in its partnership approach and is taking a bigger view of what partnerships might allow it to do. The opportunity would be to make a difference on a massive scale – rather than implement programs that reach 20,000 young people in South Africa, why not work with the Ministry of Education to reach 500,000 or 1 million young people? The risk is in the loss of quality that may inevitably come with massive scale – which is why GRS will continue to run its flagship sites as “best practice" incubators.

Investment in Adolescents: As mentioned, the GRS impact model is centered on a meaningful relationship between youth participants and GRS Coaches. Short term objectives may revolve around increasing each participant's knowledge, attitudes, and communication around HIV & AIDS, but in the long-term GRS views all program graduates as future community role models, thus building a generation of aware, engaged, and conscious adults/parents that can take HIV (and other health issues) into their own control.

There is a success story every time a youth participant tests positive for HIV and actually gets access to care. Each time this happens, GRS is preventing further spread of HIV and adding years to that individuals' life. Many will go on to be advocates for positive living and motivating other youth to eliminate stigma and discrimination. The benefits of building up healthy HIV+ role models cannot be measured, but surely contributes to improving the community's response to HIV and other health issues.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • 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 strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time



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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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.


Board of directors
as of 08/28/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Kevin Borgmann

Capital One

Term: 2022 - 2025

Tom Crotty

Thomas S. Clark

Grassroot Soccer

Brian Brink

Lisa Stuart

Methembe Ndlovu

Christen Press

Fiona Ferguson

Todd Sisitsky

TPG Capital

Kevin Borgmann

Capital One

Todd Eckler

Fiduciary Trust Company

Dawn Averitt

Averitt Consulting, Inc

Akudo Anyanwu

Texas Biomedical Research

James Casey

J.P. Morgan Securities, LLC

Ken French

Blaise Judo-Sato

Dr. Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka

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? No
  • 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 8/28/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/28/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • 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 disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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 use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • 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.