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Kely Nascimento: Building a More Equitable Planet through Sports, the Arts, and Storytelling

Kely Nascimento: Building a More Equitable Planet through Sports, the Arts, and Storytelling

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and 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. 

Hello, friends! It’s Spiffy, your trusty interplanetary journalist, bringing you the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. Today is a special treat, as it marks my 500th interview! For this occasion, I’m thrilled to present a galactic exclusive with Kely Nascimento, the president of the Nascimento Foundation. Let’s see what she is doing to make a positive impact in the world. 

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Kely! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your organization?

Kely: Glad to be with you, Spiffy! The personal challenge for me is always that there is so much need in the world that it is difficult to not be able to help everyone. Raising money is also always a challenge. The focus of our work is on two elements of the world of sports: “sports for development,” which is sports used as a tool to address the world's greatest needs and further the UN Social Development Goals (SDGs), and “sports diplomacy,” which means—as an individual, a brand, an organization, a culture, a nation—how do you use sport to tell your story? How does your involvement in sport tell us about what you believe? These are areas that are incredibly powerful in sustainable development and storytelling, but they also are areas that are still not commonly understood.

Spiffy: Very cool! What motivates you to tackle this challenge?

Kely: I grew up in the world of football—my father is Pelé, one of the most famous players in the world—and it has been an amazing privilege to see firsthand the power that sports has outside the field. It has the power to inspire and create community and to empower individuals and cultures. I see how that power can change the world for the better but is not being used to its full potential. So, I would like to, in my own small way, help create opportunities to harness and focus that power.

Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?

Kely: I hope my speaking work helps to shed light on the power of sports to support the SDGs and sports diplomacy. My consulting work helps individuals, NGOs, and companies understand how to better tell their story through sports and sports programs. My foundation also helps to support and create programs that use sports and the arts and storytelling to build a more equitable planet.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone or initiative by you and your team. What impact does that make? 

Kely: Nascimento Foundation is only two years old, and we are still in the development and initial partnership/fundraising stage, but I am very proud of our work with Beyond Sport Foundation. Together we are creating a rubric that helps youth sports organizations address internal inequality. It is called the Racial Equity Assessment & Learning Tool (REAL)—check it out if you can.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Kely—it’s been an honor!

Kely Nascimento is a strategy advisor working with organizations in the public and private sectors to aid in creating focused and powerful brand stories that reflect the purpose of their missions as well as in creating aligned partnership opportunities. Kely's work is focused in the areas of sports diplomacy and sports for development. She is president of the Nascimento Foundation. (First published on the Ladderworks website on November 7, 2022.)

© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. 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.