This year, #GivingTuesday seems more needed than ever. Youth athletics have felt the impact of the pandemic, from cancelled leagues and seasons to uncertain paths for college hopefuls.
For those reasons and many others, Volkswagen of America is the presenting partner of U.S. Soccer’s #GivingTuesday Campaign this year and directing $115,000 of its U.S. Soccer sponsorship towards scholarships and non-profits that develop and nurture female soccer players and coaches across the nation.
“Volkswagen is committed to the growth of soccer in the U.S.—and what better way to do this than by supporting organizations rooted in these efforts,” said Duncan Movassaghi, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Volkswagen of America. “We’re happy to be presenting partner of U.S. Soccer’s #GivingTuesday campaign as it encourages others to drive something bigger than themselves and shows our Drive Bigger platform is hard at work.”
Started in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a global event that seeks to bring nonprofits, businesses and individuals together to raise money and awareness for charitable efforts.
As part of the campaign, Volkswagen is directing $15,000 to The Jill Ellis Scholarship Fund, an initiative developed by U.S. Soccer and the former Women’s National Team Coach who guided the team to two FIFA Women’s World Cup titles, to help address the gender gap in top-flight coaching. The fund has a goal of doubling the number of elite professional female coaches by 2024.
“We want this program to help create a culture shift in the coaching industry, where women are encouraged, promoted, and prepared for success through education and support,” Ellis said. “We know this will take all of us, and there are so many amazing people who are part of this project and want to see more female coaches achieve their goals.”
The provided scholarships will cover 50 percent of the tuition costs for female candidates enrolled in Pro, “A” and “B” coaching license courses.
“We know we can’t remove every obstacle and barrier in her way, but we can help,” Ellis said. “Representation matters. I want more girls (and boys) to have female coaches so they can see women in leadership roles. I want young girls to be inspired to speak up, contribute, be heard, and be a leader themselves. … We want to make a lasting change in the soccer community.”
The fund has also built programs around the scholarship to provide direct hands-on support, including the SheChampions Mentorship Program. The program will “match top female coaching candidates with top coaches in the women’s game, to help them navigate and overcome challenges they face every day,” Ellis said.
Volkswagen is also directing $10,000 to ten Team VW brand ambassadors who chose these nine soccer-based charities to support with these funds:
- Tyler Adams (MNT), Crystal Dunn (WNT): America SCORES
- Abby Dahlkemper (WNT): Grassroot Soccer
- Ali Krieger (WNT): Women and Girls in Soccer (WAGS)
- Carli Lloyd (WNT): Women’s Sports Foundation
- Weston McKennie (MNT): The Steve Nash Foundation
- Samantha Mewis (WNT): Hidden Gems Soccer
- Jordan Morris (MNT): The Jordan Morris Foundation
- Kelley O’Hara (WNT): The Kelley O’Hara Scholarship Fund
- Gyasi Zardes (MNT): The Columbus Crew SC Foundation
More information on the above highlighted charities can be found here.
“For me, it’s about two things: impact and inspiration,” Ellis added. “We have a massive opportunity in front of us to impact so many people.”