Exciting news: Grassroot Soccer’s SKILLZ Street program was one of 10 winners recognized in Boston, MA, at the Collaborative, hosted by Classy on June 15.

The Classy Awards is the largest awards ceremony of its kind recognizing excellence in social innovation. The winners are determined as part of a yearlong initiative by the Classy Awards Leadership Council, an honorary board of leaders and experts whose unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector. Selected from 100 finalists – and more than 3,600 applicants! – to become one of 10 winners, Grassroot Soccer took home a Classy Award at Thursday’s 7th annual celebration.

2017 Classy Award Winners gather in front of the Finalists wall on June 15, 2017, in Boston, MA.

“Grassroot Soccer is humbled and proud to accept the Classy Award for the work accomplished through our SKILLZ Street programming,” Grassroot Soccer Founder and CEO Tommy Clark said. “Globally, adolescent girls face unique health challenges, such as high rates of new HIV infections, lack of youth-friendly health services, and high rates of gender-based violence. We are excited to be implementing a tailored approach using soccer to connect adolescent girls with the mentors, information, and health services they need to thrive.”

SKILLZ Street is a female-specific program, designed with intention and driven to empower. The program challenges gender norms by encouraging girls to lead through sport, teaching them about their role in HIV prevention and transmission. While the curriculum encourages youth participants to lead healthy, positive, purposeful lives, it often has a profound impact on SKILLZ Coaches as well.  “It is because of SKILLZ Street that I know more about girls’ vulnerability to HIV and I feel confident talking about it in front of the girls,” SKILLZ Street Coach Sibeko expressed in 2014.

Grassroot Soccer is emboldened by this recognition and eager to continue delivering transformative programs like SKILLZ Street across the globe. Grassroot Soccer would like to extend a special thank you to The Arsenal Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Comic Relief, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Elma Philanthropies, ExxonMobil, Ford Foundation, Hawaii Community Foundation, Imago Dei Fund, Johnson & Johnson, Laureus South Africa, MAC AIDS Fund, Manchester City Football Foundation, Peace Corps, The Supporters Club, Swedish Postcode Foundation, United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, and USAID for their continued support of our all-girls programming. Your contributions help inspire girls to lead healthier, more empowered lives through sport. KILO!