Kicking the Soccer Ball towards a Better Future

By: Madeleine
Madeleine was a participant in Allowance for Good's 2015 Global Philanthropy Summit. She is now partnering with AYSO and one of our Global Affiliates, Spark Ventures, to provide soccer supplies for children in Zambia and Nicaragua. To donate to her project please check out her Go Fund Me page.

Soccer can reach across language barriers.
Hi! My name is Madeleine Beirne and I attended the venture philanthropy GPS program this summer. Through the AfG program, I was able to meet an amazing organization called Spark Ventures, that helps communities in Zambia and Nicaragua create thriving businesses, and introduce myself to Lucy Jodlowska and Arnold Duijzer, who encouraged the group to help think of games and activities that the children (in Zambia and Nicaragua) and the people coming with Spark Ventures could participate in to help introduce themselves and learn from each other. We were aware that there were both language and age barriers between the children and the people with Spark Ventures, so one of the main activities that the group could participate in easily was soccer, which is wildly popular in both places.

Before the AfG program, my dad and I had spoken about the idea to partner with AYSO, the national soccer league in America, and start a donation drive where AYSO participants would be able to donate their old jerseys, uniforms, cleats, and soccer equipment. One of the main things I was trying to figure out, however, was what organization to donate them to. While trying to brainstorm ideas for Spark Ventures, I realized that this would be a perfect opportunity to connect this idea with Spark Ventures and see if they would be interested in the donations.
Maddie, on right, at AfG's Global Philanthropy Summit.
Through AfG, I was able to connect with Lucy and figure out the details of the soccer uniform donation drive. One of the main things that I took away from the AfG program was how important youth driven philanthropy is, both to our world and to future generations. AfG helped me make connections with organizations and people, and it made me realize that, as youth, we have the power to inspire and help others.

With the amazing support and cooperation of AYSO, the American Youth Soccer Organization, my dad and I were able to set up a tent at the AYSO lakefront soccer fields and collect old soccer uniforms and equipment from AYSO participants, which we will be doing every Saturday for a couple of weeks. Amazingly, we were able to collect hundreds of uniforms, cleats, socks, soccer balls, and other equipment on just the first day. This equipment will be going to children in Nicaragua and Zambia, the two locations where Spark Ventures has helped create thriving businesses in, and it will be shipped there within a couple weeks. We are dividing the uniforms into teams so that the children in both locations are able to form teams and create a smaller soccer league, that even the Spark Ventures visitors can participate in!
Some of the soccer uniforms Madeleine has collected.

Because we have a multitude of equipment to ship to both of these locations, I have started a go fund me page, where people can donate to help us ship the soccer supplies to Zambia and Nicaragua. If you can, a donation would be greatly appreciated and accepted! The link for the page is:

We didn’t have an initial goal for the project, but Spark Ventures needs around 170 uniforms and an assortment of other soccer equipment, which we’ve already exceeded this goal and have collected hundreds of uniforms already!  This project has taught me a lot about youth driven philanthropy, and how much power the youth have in our community. AfG has taught me the value of not only service and giving back to the community, but also the value of connecting with people and utilizing the resources that are available to me. For young people like me, I would encourage you to utilize the resources around you and make connections with people that will inspire you to inspire others. Thank you AfG and Spark Ventures!