Introducing The Institute’s New Strategic Vision

Introducing The Institute’s New Strategic Vision

Dear Friends of the Institute,

I am writing at an incredible inflection point in the history of the Institute for Sport & Social Justice. Being named CEO of this trailblazing organization has been the most rewarding professional challenge of my career. From the start, one of the key challenges we faced was moving from an organization that did one thing extremely well, training & education, to an organization that was mission-driven to maximize the impact we could make in the world. To move from surviving to thriving for the explicit purpose of making a safe, equitable, and inclusive world.

To that end, we partnered with social impact firm NextStage to guide us through an organization-defining strategic planning process. You see, our Founder, the inspiring and indefatigable Dr. Richard Lapchick, is a seminal figure in the sport, activism, and social change space. Through his leadership and example, the Institute has been involved in blazing trails for many organizations to follow. Over several decades we introduced many hallmarks of the sports industry, and to move forward we needed to take stock of our history while carefully plotting a course for our future. We worked to understand what was currently happening in the sport and social change space, and conceptualized where and how we could be most useful. Our process included months of research and discovery, planning, focus groups, partner feedback and input from staff.

This process allowed us to discover a new strategic vision, centered on our new theory of change: Change Me. Change Us. Change the World.

Change Me: We believe impact starts at the individual level. We educate and empower individuals to realize their ability to make a positive difference.

Change Us: We aim to build a movement of individuals who take what they have learned to inspire and transform their local communities.

Change the World: We work with global partners to lift-up and support their change making efforts and advance equity, safety, and inclusion. The movement we envision emanates from individual and community-based action that ultimately, will change the world.

Our strategic vision is activated through four key pillars.

Training & Education
The Institute’s Huddle Up trainings, with targeted content for athletes, coaches, and staff (at all levels), are infused with active learning strategies, dynamic, and highly interactive. Created by, and for, athletes, we inspire leadership, increase trust, and elevate the culture of an organization.

Knowledge Creation
A gap we identified in the sports world is the absence of data in creating action-oriented solutions to complex social problems. The Institute provides tailored research, culture & climate assessments, and DEIB-infused human capital benchmarking tools designed to help practitioners address real-world challenges.

Global Engagement
The Institute works with sports teams, leagues, federations, and governments to drive policy, connect people, and inspire change around the world. Through education, exchanges, and events, the Institute works with key stakeholders to promote mutual understanding and justice-focused solutions in sport.

Community & Youth
Our goal in working with youth is simple: to empower the next generation of leaders. The Institute works with schools, after-school organizations, and sport programs to provide life-changing educational tools for the leaders of tomorrow to start impacting their community today.

Today, with our new vision, we are honoring our past and building a stronger tomorrow. We now have renewed clarity and a defined roadmap, and are already putting our new pillars into practice.

Want to work together? Contact us, and we can strategize ways to partner together in the future.

You can learn more about our new strategic plan here and on our website.

Dr. Jeffrey O’Brien