aka America SCORES   |   New York, NY   |


America SCORES empowers students in under-served communities using soccer, writing, creative expression, and service-learning. With teamwork as the unifying value, America SCORES inspires youth to lead healthy lifestyles, be engaged students, and become agents of change in their communities.

Notes from the nonprofit

America SCORES is the hub of a collaborative network of youth development nonprofits. We work closely with our local affiliate partners to ensure our programming meets the needs of every individual community with which we partner.

Ruling year info


Network President

Ms. Bethany Rubin Henderson

Executive Director

Icy Jones

Main address

520 Eighth Avenue 2nd Floor, 201C

New York, NY 10018 USA

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NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Soccer Clubs/Leagues (N64)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

America SCORES operates within the national context of fifteen million children who are left unsupervised after school, a time during which they are 49% more vulnerable to violence, danger, and crime. Twenty-three million children are overweight or obese, at risk of a wide range of immediate and long-term health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer while recess and physical education continue to experience cuts from public school priorities. Over six million children are dropping out of high school each year with third grade reading proficiency as a leading predictor of that fate or worse, prison.

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?

America SCORES

America SCORES oversees the soccer and literacy programs of our affiliates in 11 communities: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, San Francisco/Oakland, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, DC, and Vancouver.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


Youth Literacy Best Practices 2018

Library of Congress

Affiliations & memberships

Library of Congress Youth Literacy Best Practices Award 2018

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Hours of mentoring

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

Children and youth, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

America SCORES

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Each year we pair our teams of youth with teams of adult mentors whom we call coaches. Group mentoring adult-to-children and peer-to-peer are core aspects of our free afterschool programming.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

America SCORES inspires urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world. Our aim is that early interventions will reverse the trend of obesity- related illnesses, low literacy scores, and social-emotional wellbeing dysregulation disproportionately seen in children from low-income communities of color -- and will provide deep, trusting relationships with positive role models, peers, and schools for children most in need of surmounting achievement gaps to succeed in school and in life.

America SCORES harnesses the power of sports, arts, and service to propel physical health, social-emotional wellbeing, and academic outcomes for tens of thousands of children living in high-poverty urban neighborhoods across North America. We do so through an inviting, fun, innovative mix of arts, athletics, and academics -- delivered through FREE daily after school programs and summer camps. The program is team-oriented; kids join their school or rec center's SCORES team, and that entire team plays soccer together, writes and performs original poetry together, and designs and carries out neighborhood service projects together, all under the mentorship of teachers and local community members. Our program is not a la carte and not drop-in. Our holistic model requires that students attend all aspects of the program -- meaning that kids who join for soccer also benefit from the literacy programming and vice-versa. This team-based, whole-child approach increases impact and reinforces not only the skills developed but the habits and values of teamwork, leadership, and commitment, as well as both physical and social-emotional health. Because children typically do not come to our program for a season, they stay for years, we keep children connected to, and deeply engaged in school; improve attendance rates and academic achievement; and create contagious culture (a team celebrating athletic competition as well as artistic excellence). Finally, because we embed inside schools, our program influences not only our participants, but their coach-mentors (80% of whom are school teachers or school support staff doing second shift with us), peers, and families. Consequently, we are able to build and maintain a culture of health for a truly diverse set of children, their schools, and their communities.

One result of our strategy is that we build team players. SCORES poet-athletes get 10 times more exercise than the national average. Post-program running tests show participants improve their fitness levels no matter where they start. Another result of our strategy is that we inspire self-expression. Our poet-athletes write more than 50,000 original works each year. Many have published poems in magazines and performed in spoken word events before audiences of hundreds. A third result of our strategy is that we create meaningful community change that extends far beyond the direct benefits to the participants. Last year alone, America SCORES teams designed and led over 300 service-learning projects to improve their neighborhoods. Collectively the teams contributed over 200,000 hours of volunteer work to their communities.

In 1994, Julie Kennedy, a public school teacher in Washington, DC, noticed that her 5th grade students lacked opportunities and activities during critical after-school hours. As an athlete and creative writer, Kennedy began teaching a group of 15 girls how to play soccer. When it got too cold for soccer, she offered the girls the chance to express themselves through poetry. Before too long, Ms. Kennedy had created what became the foundation for a national model that uses a team-based approach to connect students to physical fitness through soccer, self-expression through poetry, and a sense of community through service-learning. The America SCORES model expanded nationally in 1999 and combines these key elements every day after school for elementary and middle school students in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, DC, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Portland (OR), San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, St. Louis, and Vancouver (Canada).

Because youth development needs and the out of school time sphere vary by locality, America SCORES takes a grassroots approach. All activities, including strategic direction-setting and strategic leadership, are led “by the network for the network” and our National Network President Bethany Rubin Henderson also serves as Executive Director of DC SCORES. Bethany, who holds a JD from Harvard Law School, has won multiple awards for nonprofit leadership and social innovation including being named a 2017 Washington Business Journal Nonprofit ED of the Year and a 2009 Echoing Green Fellow.

The Library of Congress recently recognized our efforts and impact, naming America SCORES a 2018 Best Practice in Literacy Award winner - one of only 15 organizations in the country so honored. On the soccer side, the 2018 World Cup provided unique opportunities for our poet-athletes to take their skills to the world stage. Nine DC SCORES alumnae and two of their coaches were selected to represent the United States as the first-ever US women’s team to compete in the Street Child World Cup in Moscow (they placed 5th, beating host team Russia). Four Boston SCORES teens were selected to be part of the FIFA youth delegation. Other SCORES alumni and coaches traveled to Haiti, England, and Switzerland to participate in various invite-only youth development initiatives. Each of these experiences required our poet-athletes to draw not only on their soccer talent, but directly on both the literacy skills and the leadership habits they developed in SCORES. Our poet-athletes spoke publicly and gave media interviews, made presentations to international audiences about US youth culture and SCORES programming and curricula, wrote/performed original poetry, participated in local service projects, and collaborated on an international policy proposal for supporting children or are homeless or at risk of homelessness around the world.

America SCORES participants—85 percent of whom live below the poverty line—improve academically, increase physical fitness, and have a greater sense of confidence and belonging. Evaluations, national and local, show that America SCORES is a program that works:
97% of participants showed more self-confidence
85% of participants increased cardiovascular capacity
75% of participants improved grammar and writing mechanics
However, perhaps the best way to understand America SCORES and its value is from the children themselves. Nahul, a college graduate who participated in America SCORES in Los Angeles, says “SCORES was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me. It kept me away from the bad crowd and helped me focus on school and soccer. The time I spent created a new person and laid the foundation I needed to become who I am today. SCORES has provided opportunities for me to excel in school, on the field, and in the real world.”
America SCORES is now embarking on a growth strategy. Even through both the number of children and number of partner school sites continues to grow in our 12 cities, many dozens of schools remain on our waitlists in those cities and we are experiencing increasing demand to expand to new cities. It costs between $25-$40K to expand to a new school site in an existing city and between $750K-$1M to launch a full program in a new city. Your support is crucial for America SCORES to continue meeting these growing needs.
As part of that growth strategy, America SCORES also is focusing on enhancing coach training. Our curricula (which tie to both Common Core and nationally-recognized Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards) increase our coach-mentors’ flexibility and capacity to help students constructively process and respond to the big complex issues affecting their lives, including rapidly evolving activism movements (e.g. Black Lives Matter, gun control) and public policy (e.g. immigration, equal rights). Empowering our coach-mentors through enhanced, extended training (both in-person and virtual) will ensure both they and our poet-athletes remain highly-engaged, maximize the value of our recently-updated curricula, and spur a new generation of healthy, well-equipped change-agents.

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 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, 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 engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection


America SCORES

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


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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

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America SCORES

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ben Chrnelich


Term: 2010 -

Ben Chrnelich


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 ? Not applicable
  • 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? Not applicable
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/1/2022

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
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/01/2022

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 analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • 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 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.