Beyond Sport, LA Dodgers Foundation Host Event to Leverage Sport and STEM To Support Global Goals | Athletic Business

Beyond Sport, LA Dodgers Foundation Host Event to Leverage Sport and STEM To Support Global Goals

Source: Beyond Sport

With millions of jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) going unfilled year over year, Beyond Innovation, an initiative of Beyond Sport, and this year hosted by the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, brought together hundreds of the world’s most creative and innovative leaders to collaborate on leveraging the universal power of sport to help inspire young people’s interest in STEM education. Held from November 14-15 at the historic Dodger Stadium, events and sessions were designed with a laser focus on helping achieve targeted  UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or Global Goals) by 2030 in line with larger global efforts.

Kicking off the day was Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Nichol Whiteman, who has been instrumental in leading the Foundation’s efforts to positively impact the local Los Angeles community.  She brought their game-changing “Bigger than Baseball” philosophy to the forefront.

“The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation recognizes that STEM is essential to addressing poverty, inequality, and so much more,” said Whiteman. “As the role of sports continues to grow in advancing STEM, we will focus on a global view to create opportunities for all. Beyond Innovation is just the start of our desire to be leaders, collaborators, and strategic investors in direct programs, education, and experiential learning for millions of Los Angeles youth.”

Following her remarks, Beyond Sport Founder and President, Nick Keller, provided additional context to attendees on the importance of working together to achieve the UN SDGs. “STEM can and is playing a crucial role in address the world's timeliest issues, however, the tech revolution is being centered with those in a place of privilege,” said Keller. “We need to include much more diversity to deliver on the innovation needed to move the world forward. Sport has a role here to help engage young people and those on the fringes to show them how relevant STEM subjects are in their everyday life and help bridge the interest gap.”

The first panel led by inspiring women leaders dove into STEM’s role in addressing Gender Equality. According to recent statistics, only one in five countries achieve what is classed as “gender parity” with women making up 45%-55% of researchers. 

  • “The pathway from elementary school to college STEM careers - girls keep falling out of that pathway… When I first went out to recruit for our school, our girls didn't know what an engineer was. I think what's so important is to have women, women of color, companies invite these young girls in so that they can see what it's like to be in a place like Google, like SpaceX. What it's like to be an innovator so that they have that idea in their heads.” - Dr. Liz Hicks, Founder & Principal - LA Unified School District - Girls Academic Leadership Academy
  • “Many of us that are teachers taught like we were taught. But the world has changed so rapidly…we have a disconnect. We’re trying to help educators teach more authentic ways for kids to learn about content. We need to connect what’s happening in the real world to today’s classroom. We need to show the connections from career and school sooner.” – Dr. Katherine Bihr, VP Programs & Education, TGR Foundation – a Tiger Woods Charity.
  • “The future is female. But access, representation, mentorship, sponsorship and support are all critical factors to advance UN Global Goals aimed at achieving at parity for girls in STEM. And we all have a role to play. Women are brilliant and resilient. Write them in.” -  Jen Regan, Chief Sustainability Officer, We Bring It On

The day continued with a series of robust panel discussions including Using Tech to Address the Climate Crisis (UN SDG 13), Developing Innovative School STEM Curriculum for Quality Education (UN SDG 4) and Improving STEM to Help Generate Sustainable Cities and Communities (UN SDG11). Headlining those conversations were Dr. Katherine Bihr from the TGR Foundation – A Tiger Woods Charity, Melanie LeGrande from the MLBJesse Lovejoy of 49ers EDU & Museum and Dr. Emily Church of XPRIZE – to name a few. 

To ensure there is an actionable plan for the Sport and STEM Alliance – a coalition of organizations established by Beyond Sport, the 49ers Foundation and Chevron in 2017 to inspire passion in STEM education among young people – for the year to come, the collective discussed the top 10 areas of focus where the Alliance could have the most impact. These were narrowed down to three key areas centered on the following themes with the Beyond Innovation attendees voting for ‘Educating the Educators’ to receive $10k in funding from the Alliance to drive collective efforts in 2020:

  • Educating the Educators: Using sport to enable our educators to teach STEM-based topics
  • Connecting STEM to Gender Equality: Establishing ways to communicate and disseminate sport’s role in engaging girls
  • Targeting hard-to-reach groups: Identifying best practices in how sport can engage minority and marginalized groups into STEM


Prior to Beyond Innovation, guests were treated to a thought-provoking speech from David GoldsteinPhD Colonel (ret), U.S. Air Force at the ESPN Leadership Dinner, where he discussed the current technology landscape, the leadership needed and how sport can help advance STEM for future work forces. In addition, Rick Singer, President and CEO of the TGR Foundation showcased the key initiatives The TGR Foundation, A Tiger Woods Charity, has spearheaded to support youth development through award-winning STEM curricula, college-access programs, a digital platform and educator professional learning. After Singer’s remarks, Sport & STEM Alliance guests became students as they were immersed into a space lunar landing challenge, where the TGR Foundation led the group in a hands-on, team-based STEM exploration illustrating process used with educators and students to further interest in STEM. 



  • “Will tech solve the climate crisis? I believe it can. But will it? That’s what we need to answer. We need to be inclusive of all groups of people and not design in a vacuum, otherwise we won’t solve it. To solve any critical problem, we need artists, engineers and athletes. These are not separate fields.” – Dr. Emily Church, Executive Director, Prize Operations, Global Learning – XPRIZE speaking on Climate Action.
  • “Teachers need access to funding to help students innovate real world solutions. They need tools & supplies to build real world things. We push the idea of STEM on kids, but they really don't comprehend what that is and how it impacts their life or future pathways.” – Chris Rougier, STEM Curriculum Developer, Loyola Marymount University speaking on Quality Education
  • “30% of city congestion is due to people trying to find parking. A solution?  The tech exists to guide people to parking spaces, which results in a 10% CO2 reduction from streets. Currently 3.5 billion people live in cities, with 5 billion projected by 2050. We need to make cities smarter by improving infrastructure, holistic leadership and planning & technology.” – Pete Fitzboydon, Chairperson, OpenActive Board; Former CEO, London Sport speaking on Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • “Girls start to out think themselves as young as 5 years old. We can use sport to build confidence in girls and then use that as a pathway to STEM. Also, statistics show that 54% of C-Suite women played a sport through college.” -Dr. Kimberly Clay, Founder & CEO, Play Like A Girl on Gender Equality
  • “What’s sport's role in the link between STEM and the SDGs? We are the ones we've been waiting for. Sport has a huge platform. Let's use it through collaborations like the Sport & STEM Alliance to reach directly to the actual educators & curriculum creators.” – Melanie LeGrande, VP Social Responsibility, MLB

Beyond Innovation was supported by Host Partner, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Supporting Partner, 49ers Foundation; Official Partners SAP and EVERFI; and, International Media Sponsor, ESPN.

About Beyond Sport

Founded in 2008, Beyond Sport is the leading global force for sustainable social change through sport, instilling insight, energy and impact in communities around the world. The organization does this through convening, supporting and advising the worlds of sport, business, government and development on how sport can be used as a tool to achieve both social and business objectives. Beyond Sport’s global network encompasses 2800 organizations in more than 150 countries using sport as a catalyst for change.

About the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation

Founded in 1995 as the official charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is bigger than baseball, envisioning a city where every young Angeleno, regardless of neighborhood, has the opportunity to thrive. For young Angelenos with limited access to education, sports and healthcare, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is a champion that increases the quality of life and confidence of the people we serve by using our historic Dodger brand and the power of sport to run and fund proven programs — at a time when a quality education, youth sports and health care are increasingly reserved for the elite.  With the support of partners, stakeholders and fans, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation produces incredible results on fields, in classrooms and at recreation centers, creating Major League Communities.

About the 49ers Foundation

The 49ers Foundation harnesses football to educate and empower Bay Area youth through collective and innovative community-focused strategies. From award-winning STEAM education and nationally recognized youth football programs, to impactful community partnerships with leading non-profits, the 49ers Foundation is tirelessly dedicated to inspiring the confidence and collaboration youth need to tackle what is possible. Last year alone, the 49ers Foundation invested more than $4 million back into the Bay Area community and in its 28 years in existence has donated more than $40 million.


EVERFI is doing education differently. With its scalable learning solutions, the organization is empowering organizations everywhere to instill knowledge around critical topics in the classroom, in the office and in the community. By bringing together the public and private sectors to change the way education is delivered, EVERFI is equipping today’s learners with the skills they need to become tomorrow’s leaders.

About SAP

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) is a purpose driven company that helps businesses of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP is committed to helping every customer become a best-run business, and is governed by a promise to innovate and help their customers run at their best. Applications and services enable more than 404,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.

About 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.

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