By Ken Reed
Shortly before he died, U.S. Rep. and civil rights icon John Lewis said athletes are the new civil rights warriors.
“They have a great deal of influence,” said Lewis of athletes. “Sometimes history and fate just brings things together. And I think that is happening now.”
For decades, many athletes have started foundations and been active in various philanthropic projects. Recently, several athletes have found another way to make the world a better place: impact investing.
Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns has been one of the most active impact investors. He was frustrated that his pure philanthropic efforts weren’t making the societal impact he was hoping for. He believes “philanthropy can be frustrating” at times.
Paul is one of several athletes, including tennis star Andre Agassi and basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who have invested in the Turner Multifamily Impact Fund, a type of private-equity fund focused on preserving affordable housing. Other investors in the fund include hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and actress Eva Longoria.
Paul has also joined fellow athletes Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony in starting The Social Change Fund, which was created to help accelerate social change in communities of color and sustainably build a fair, equitable society. Some significant companies, including Goldman Sachs, are early investors in this fund.
Paul has also joined with fellow NBA players Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan to make significant investments in Beyond Meat, a plant-based food company. Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown says Paul’s “willingness to use his platform to make a difference is something that’s been evident to me from the very beginning of our relationship.”
An increasing number of today’s more socially-aware athletes are expecting their investments to lead to meaningful societal progress towards positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes — and they are willing to help lead the way.
Paul has embraced impact investing because he likes the idea of positively impacting people and the planet while also earning a competitive financial return.
“That’s the fuel we need to bring in investors and reach even more communities and families,” says Paul. “When you combine a positive financial return with positive social impact, you can make a huge difference for people.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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