This month, the Center for Social Impact Strategy hosted an engaging panel about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Entertainment, and Sports. Watch a recording of the conversation here. Dr. Cherése Godwin, MSW, Ph.D., C.DIR., who lectures here at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice, moderated the panel. Tracy A. Jones, Founder and Executive Director of PA4WN, and alum of the Nonprofit Leadership Master’s Program, co-moderated. These two introduced the panelists and set the stage for a lively conversation. The panel included Veronne Clark, manager of social responsibility, Sacramento Kings; Kevin Carroll, Author, and Creative Catalyst; Ralonda Johnson, Partner & President, Malcom Inc.& Broad St. Ventures, and Randy Osei, Athlete Tech Group Founder.
Panelists began by discussing their backgrounds and diverse paths to the corporate social responsibility space. Randy always wanted to find ways to make an impact in his community. He played sports through college and started his professional career as a brand & business manager for NBA players. Randy noticed professional athletes had the power and influence to drive positive change in communities. Veronne was a student-athlete who wanted to pave her way and merge her passions, community work, and her love for sports. She didn’t want to do anything with sports unless she could help the community & pave her way. Rolanda saw many athletes filing for bankruptcy after retirement and wanted them to instead achieve generational wealth. She also noticed athletes’ access and influence and wanted to make sure they used their access as a platform for the good of the community. Kevin started his journey playing for the Sonny Hill League, an amateur summer basketball organization in the Delaware Valley. Fast forward to years later, he began telling his story and gaining a platform. While traveling internationally and working with brands such as Nike, Kevin noticed he could connect with others and learn about communities through basketball.
The audience asked various thought-provoking questions, and the moderators and panelists provided great insight when answering. One of the questions focused on misconceptions in the corporate social responsibility space. Rolanda stated that we couldn’t look at one group to solve a problem. Instead, understand the importance of diversity and find allies who care about the work. Kevin echoed her opinion and added everybody should collectivity invest in social impact. Veronne thought about this question differently; she spoke about companies. She wants to see people genuinely passionate about social responsibility get involved; if companies say they support something, make sure it’s at the heart of the companies mission and be authentic.
Panelists also spoke about the work they have done with their prospective organizations. When asked, “How do sports act as a conduit to advance communities” Rolanda discussed some of The Malcolm Jenkin Foundation’s recent projects. They executed a holiday drive that helped 540 families in four states during the beginning of the pandemic. They leveraged the money raised, corporate donors. Rolanda also spoke about how their foundation has exposed children to different careers. Randy discussed his life-changing experience traveling to Ghana. After returning to Canada, he pulled from his network to get signed jerseys to raise money and collect funds. Once he returned to Ghana, he donated to schools and orphanages and remembered the energy and faces of joy from the people he helped.
Overall, the panel was friendly, lively, engaged, and offered a fabulous window into the sphere of sports and entertainment philanthropy. Moderators Dr. Cherėse and Tracy A. Jones kept the conversation going and provided insightful feedback throughout the panel. Panelists left great gems for the audience when discussing their projects and journey in social impact. Subscribe to our mailing list to learn about future programming.