ESPN & BBBSA Honored With 2023 “Golden Halo” For Best-In-Class Corporate Social Impact Efforts
Engage for Good has named ESPN and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) the winners of its 2023 Golden Award, the group’s highest honor for companies and causes engaged in activities to build a better world and the bottom line.
Accepting the honors at the Engage for Good conference in Atlanta, GA on May 16-18, 2023 will be Artis Stevens, President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and Kevin Martinez, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship at ESPN.
This marks the 21st time the Golden Halo Awards have been presented to a business and a nonprofit for their outstanding achievements in the field of corporate social impact and the first time a sports media organization has been honored.
“ESPN and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America exemplify the power positive corporate social impact has to contribute to society while strengthening companies and nonprofits in the process,” said Engage for Good President David Hessekiel.
“ESPN stands out for the numerous ways it integrates the resources of the world’s leading sports media brand to take on challenges such as equitable access to sports for young people, bullying prevention and combatting cancer,” said Hessekiel. “Now well into its second century of operation, BBBSA, America’s largest youth mentoring organization, has supercharged its collaboration with corporate partners as challenges such as the pandemic, the mental health crisis and racial strife have deepened the need for its services.”
2023 Golden Halo Award Winner (Corporate): ESPN
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplift the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use the power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism while also utilizing its diverse media assets.
ESPN Citizenship helps strengthen the business by enhancing key internal and external relationships – growing sports fans, showcasing powerful stories, engaging employees and driving reputation all while helping the most vulnerable in the sports community build a better path to the future. Among ESPN’s signature initiatives are:
Access To Sports: ESPN has helped provide better access to sports for millions of youth by supporting numerous developmentally appropriate programs such as the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sports 4 Life and serving as the global presenting sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports.
The V Foundation: Since ESPN co-founded the V Foundation for Cancer Research in 1993, ESPN has raised over $169 million for the organization.
Story-Telling With A Purpose: ESPN’s social responsibility strategy is particularly unique because of its content, platforms, and wide reach to empower nonprofits and enlighten sports fans on social issues.
The Choose Kindness Project: Launched in October 2022, together with ABC and the Choose Kindness Alliance, this program addresses bullying prevention, intentional inclusion and youth mental wellness. Among ESPN’s many contributions to the initiative are multi-channel content integration and storytelling, talent ambassadors and a substantial grant program.
“ESPN is so proud to receive the Golden Halo Award, which we believe is the highest honor in corporate cause marketing,” said Kevin Martinez, Vice President of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “This award celebrates the meaningful impact our company, employees and partners have made in the places where we live, work and play. As part of The Walt Disney Company, ESPN knows the power of diverse and purpose-driven storytelling, and how it can drive social change by sharing stories of sports creating positive impacts on our society.”
2023 Golden Halo Award Winner (Nonprofit): Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Founded in 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, America’s largest youth mentoring organization, has supercharged its collaboration with corporate partners in recent years as societal crises have deepened the need for its services.
BBBSA partners with businesses that embrace its JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) values and youth empowerment vision. These alliances empower consumers to support the cause, employees to volunteer, media and influencers to elevate the brand and fuel the outcomes that make BBBSA’s evidence-based mentorship model possible.
BBBSA’s relationship-based model creates mentoring experiences between young people (“Littles”), starting at age 5 through young adulthood, and caring, positive adult mentors (“Bigs”). Its services are 100% free of charge to the families it serves, working with 230+ local agencies in more than 5,000 communities across all 50 states.
The young people BBBSA serves, many from underserved and underrepresented communities, face a variety of mental, emotional and behavioral risk factors that can be exacerbated by poor relationships, poverty, stress, trauma, violence and the loss of close relationships, which are all linked to maladaptive and risky behaviors, poor health outcomes, and even early death. BBBSA strives to empower them to build resiliency, maximize opportunities and to achieve post-secondary success.
BBBSA’s corporate social responsibility work invests in, elevates and grows the critical outputs of its mission. The creative flexibility embedded within its approach to corporate partnerships allows space for all industries, sectors and platforms to engage with its mission and cause, aligning with its public-facing activations, campaigns and initiatives. Through a thoughtful employee engagement and stakeholder education process, BBBSA deepens relationships and creates opportunities for impactful mission engagement, including workforce development, employee resource group (ERG) activation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategic counsel.
Recent high-impact corporate partnerships have included multifaceted alliances with companies including Macy’s, Starbucks, Harry’s, Comcast NBCUniversal and Express.
“We are honored to receive the Golden Halo Award in recognition of our social impact initiatives supported by partners across a variety of industries who share our commitment to create justice and equity for youth, bringing together diverse communities so that all kids can feel included for the promise of opportunity and a better life,” said Artis Stevens, President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. “We are grateful for their collaboration and shared vision to empower young people by putting them on a path to graduate with a plan for their future and a mentor – a BIG — who can impact their lifetime.”