Professional sports have mainly been about the glitz and glamour, but off the field, sports teams have created initiatives to help and benefit the local community. 

NBA Cares is one renowned charitable organization that the National Basketball Association has set up to help build community centers, aid impoverished communities, and address critical social issues.  International soccer teams have also partnered with charities, like UNICEF and the UEFA Foundation for Children, which focuses on children’s rights.

The MLS and Philanthropy

MLS (Major League Soccer)is also very involved in the local community.  In Atlanta,  their contributions,  programs, and community resources have been able to reach thousands of children and adults, stressing the importance of physical fitness while building and supporting each other through a culture of play and sportsmanship.  Programs also help create different attitudes, perceptions, and changes in the community through soccer.

Non-profit organizations that need help in expanding soccer programs and community outreach programs can apply for grants provided by Atlanta United Foundation, which is directly supported by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.  AUF has partnered with organizations like “Soccer in the Streets” and “Soccer for Success” to guide individuals on the right path. 

Atlanta United’s outreach programs focus on the basic need for access and inclusion, while creating opportunities for individuals, young and old, to use soccer as a catalyst for change not only in the community but the world as well.

The Fugees Family is a non-profit organization that provides support and mentorship to refugee children from over 20 different countries.  Fugees Family promotes school, community service programs and donates equipment to also promote soccer.

In March, the league announced the MLS Unites program, that aims to bring the soccer community together during the coronavirus pandemic.  The main goal is to educate the public on how to keep safe and to highlight the frontline workers.   Atlanta United’s owner, Arthur Blank, pledged millions of dollars to organizations fighting the pandemic.

Our country’s premier soccer league is about inclusion and acceptance through various grants, services, and outreach programs in the community.  As Atlantans, we have so much to be proud of… let’s unite and conquer any obstacles we may have!