Adam Fraser: Sports and Their Power to Change the World
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Adam Fraser, the chief executive of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Let’s learn what’s happening at Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and how Adam is positively impacting the world.
Spiffy: Hi Adam, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is your organization addressing?
Adam: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Laureus Sport for Good Foundation uses sport to change the world for the better. That could be using boxing in Brazil to get kids out of gangs, basketball in Brooklyn to help kids stay in school, or surfing in South Africa to help young people with their mental health. We are lucky enough to work with many of the world's greatest athletes to achieve those goals, including Chris Paul in the NBA and the tennis star Naomi Osaka. We work with many more as well. They all believe sport has the power to change the world.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Adam: I am lucky enough to have worked in the sports arena for my entire career. I started as a journalist covering soccer back home in the United Kingdom, and over the years since have had a wide range of roles. But, they always had more and more focus on how sport can have a positive impact on people's lives. Nothing is more motivating than seeing the impact our programs have on the kids and the unique experiences that help those young people access new opportunities to take on new challenges.
Spiffy: I love a good game! What is the impact of your work?
Adam: Over 22 years, we have had an impact on more than 6.5 million children and young people. In 2021, we supported almost 300 different initiatives in 50 countries, using sports to tackle violence, discrimination, or disadvantage in young people's lives. Our initiatives helped hundreds of thousands of children and young people to do better in school, access job and/or college opportunities, build new relationships and feel more connected, and make their local communities stronger and safer places.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative.
Adam: I mentioned before that we are working with the tennis star Naomi Osaka on her initiative “Play Academy with Naomi Osaka.” It is exciting to be helping one of the most famous athletes in the world connect with kids in the community. We started working together to support kids in Japan. Now, our activities are underway in Haiti—where Naomi's father comes from—and Los Angeles, where she lives. Naomi understands how empowering tennis has been in her life. Naomi wants other girls to have a similar experience. Our athletes are huge champions on and off the court.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Adam: Our work is inspired by the words of President Nelson Mandela at the first Laureus World Sports Awards. He said, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.” We believe he was right, and we encourage everyone to get involved.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Adam—it’s been an honor!
Adam Fraser is the chief executive of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which uses sport to end violence, discrimination, and disadvantage around the world. He is originally from the United Kingdom and now lives in New York. He has a passionate belief that sport has the power to change the world. (Nominated by the Ladderworks team. First published on the Ladderworks website on October 7, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jason “Jackson” Block. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.