To our Friends, Families, and Kids in the Game Community:
Together, we are fighting a global pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives in New York City, across our country, and around the world. We have seen the progress that we can achieve when we commit to supporting one another and keeping each other safe. However, the tragic events unfolding across the country and the recent murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks, among others, are a devastating reminder that Black lives are still not being valued and treated equally by social institutions. We support the Black Lives Matter movement, and we believe strongly that companies like ours need to do more to support the Black community.
Our mission is to provide positive experiences and opportunities through sports and creative play, and we operate programs in 30+ schools every year to make this a reality for youth of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. We’re committed to using our programs as a way to bring youth together, connect diverse communities, and create greater equity. Each year, our team works with 21,000+ youth from preschool through high school; nearly 50% of these youth are Black or Hispanic. Three years ago, we created the Kids in the Game Foundation as a way to bridge the opportunity gap through scholarships and community programs. Outside of sports, we want every child to develop a positive sense of self and have the opportunity to lead a safe, healthy life.
At the same time, we are striving to provide our team members with a working environment where their experiences and talents are seen, heard, and valued. More than 75% of our 125+ employees identify as Black, Hispanic, or People of Color, and far too many have personally experienced racism and inequity in their lives. We stand in support of our youth and team members in a company-wide pledge to call out racism, end discriminatory practices, and promote equality and fair treatment in our organization and our programs.
Over the last month, we have begun to host forums to engage in necessary conversations about racism, injustice, and police aggression. This was the first step in our journey to learn more about the lived experiences of our Black employees. In a recent “Behind the Game” podcast, we explored how we can implement trauma-informed practices to support kids’ mental health and foster inclusivity. Moving forward, we’re committed to making these intentional changes to better represent and uplift our employees and youth.
As a Certified B Corporation, we are part of a community of global organizations and social impact leaders who have committed to using business as a force for good. We have set high standards for ourselves in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of our intended impact. We are deepening the work in our ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative to help us maintain a diverse workforce, promote gender and racial equity, and create a talent hub in NYC. We will ensure that there is Black representation on our leadership team and committees, and engage diverse perspectives in key decision-making processes. We will continue to provide growth opportunities for underrepresented groups through our fellowship and internship programs, as well as learning and development resources for emerging leaders and managers.
Lastly, we’re invested in expanding our partnerships with organizations that empower and support Black communities, such as the Up2Us AmeriCorps service program. We’re being more intentional about purchasing from local and diverse suppliers, particularly Black and women-owned businesses. In the months ahead, we look forward to building more partnerships in support of our DEI goals.
Creating truly equitable and inclusive practices will take time, commitment, and a willingness to continuously learn and grow from what we have done in the past. We are holding ourselves accountable for building a community where diversity is celebrated, differences make us stronger, and everyone has equal access to the support and opportunities they need to succeed.