The Sports Philanthropy Executive Certificate

Increase Your Impact • Expand Your Network • Advance Your Career

The first and only of its kind, the Sports Philanthropy Executive Certificate program provides a groundbreaking online curriculum tailored to the unique needs of those who work for professional sports teams, leagues, athletic foundations, sport-related companies with an emphasis on corporate social responsibility, nonprofits using sports for social good and those looking to enter the field.

Built around your busy schedule, the certificate includes 12 core, online courses and an in-person residency at GW at the beginning of the program. The residency will not only provide an opportunity for experiential learning but allow time to meet fellow students and exchange ideas.

Enrollment is Now Open

Sports Philanthropy Application Form


Students who enroll in the February 2016 Cohort receive complimentary registration for the Sandbox Sports Conference in February 2017 (dates to be announced soon) plus the Sports Industry Networking & Career Conference (SINC) February 24th & 25th (valued at $249).

These conferences augment the rich online certificate course content with additional knowledge and expanded professional networks. In addition, we will be hosting an in-person workshop with faculty and alumni on Thursday, February 23rd. The in-person orientation provides an opportunity to meet your fellow classmates, network, and understand the expectations of your program at George Washington University.

Student and faculty meet to discuss Sports Philanthropy.

Enrollment, Dates & Location

Enrollment Period:
October 1st 2016 – February 9th 2017

Early-Bird Enrollment Period:
October 1st 2016 – January 13th 2017

Program Dates:
February 23rd 2017 – June 29th 2017

Location: The orientation KICK-OFF for the winter 2017 cohort will be held February 23rd, 2017, in-person, in Washington, DC, with faculty, alumni, & your fellow classmates. All courses and guest lectures are offered online and students can participate from anywhere.  

Sports Philanthropy Program StatsLearn More About the Program

Students Can Expect To…

  • Learn what makes sports philanthropy unique.
  • Know how to develop a clear and focused mission.
  • Recognize the key components of a successful strategic plan.
  • Build skills for developing programs that meet organizational goals and have deep impact.
  • Understand how to identify and secure potential partners for effective collaboration.
  • Learn different assessment methodology and know how to collect, analyze, and use data effectively and efficiently.

  • Develop skills to market and gain recognition for programs.
  • Discover unique assets and be able to creatively leverage these for marketing, funding, programming or other purposes.
  • Find out legal risks and liabilities associated with the unique culture of sports.
  • Hear from experts who offer new and innovative ways to obtain funding for programs.
  • Identify successful models of board governance and management.
  • Interact with other students to share ideas and learn new approaches to challenges and opportunities.

Who Should Enroll?

The Sports Philanthropy Certificate addresses the needs of people working with:

  1. Professional Sport Teams
  2. Professional Sport Leagues
  3. Professional Athlete Foundations
  4. Sport-Related Companies Working in Corporate Social Responsibility
  5. Nonprofits Using Sports for Social Good
  6. Professionals interested in starting a new career in sports philanthropy

Sports Philanthropy Application Form

Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

Courses and Faculty

There are 12 online lectures that make up the Sports Philanthropy curriculum taught by top industry leaders, executives, and thinkers representing organizations across the country. The topics covered include:

  • Strategies for Success
  • Program Design
  • Partnerships
  • Governance
  • Legal Issues

  • Measurement & Evaluation
  • Communications
  • Team Building
  • Options for Funding

Guest speakers working for sport teams, leagues, foundations, non-profit organizations, sporting good companies, and corporate sponsors participate in conference calls to supplement lectures and expand networks.

Capstone Project

In addition to the online curriculum, each student will complete a capstone project focused on either a personal or organizational challenge, goal, or research need. Based on individual topics, students are assigned to a faculty member to mentor them over the next 5 months. The faculty member will assist the student in researching and writing a plan on how to overcome their unique challenge or achieve their goal. The students will draw insights from the various courses plus guidance from faculty and alumni. For example, some students may be faced with financial challenges to keep their programs going, or some may be starting a non-profit and looking for the best organizational structure, while others are seeking a career transition into sport philanthropy. For those students who prefer, a project can be assigned that will test and enhance skill sets for professional development.

Sports Philanthropy Application FormSports Philanthropy Alumni Testimonials

The Sports Philanthropy program has 72 alumni.

Infographic of program's associations.


  • Allison Hawk Collinger | Principal | AHC Consulting LLC
  • Joanne Pasternack | Vice President & Executive Director, Community Relations & 49ers Foundation |San Francisco 49ers
  • Marjorie A. Snyder, Ph.D. | Research Director | Women’s Sports Foundation
  • Melinda Weisberg | Assistant Professor, the Marist College School of Management | Co-Principal, CG Consulting for the Common Good
  • Dean Osaki | Co-Founder/Board President | Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation


  • Dallas Cowboys Football Club
  • ESPN
  • Houston Astros
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co. Sports & Entertainment Marketing
  • New Jersey Devils
  • NFL Players Association, Inc.
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Shootout for Soldiers
  • Stanford University Athletics
  • Tiger Woods Foundation
  • Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (Barclays Center)
  • Challenged Athletes Foundation
  • Eagles Youth Partnership
  • Right to Play

  • Entertainment Industry Foundation
  • Garden of Dreams (Madison Square Garden)
  • The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation
  • The Paul Rabil Foundation
  • Turner Sports
  • Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Foundation
  • Detroit Lions
  • Homes for Our Troops
  • Israel Idonije Foundation
  • Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation
  • eBay
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Pledge It
  • Women’s Sports Foundation

Program Policies


To be admitted to the Sports Philanthropy Certificate program, students must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program. The application form should be filled out and e-mailed to George Washington University at Your application will be reviewed for approval by the program staff.

Sports Philanthropy Application Form


The enrollment fee for the Certificate in Sports Philanthropy is $4,000. This covers access to the online course system, 12 courses taught by experts in the industry, all course materials, attendance at the in-person residency, access to university resources, and individual support from the program director.

Special Offers*

  • For each cohort an early bird rate of $3,750 is available.  Please inquire about deadlines.
  • Payment plans are also available for those who register in advance.
  • Register two or more students from the same organization and take advantage of the discounted rate of $3,500 per student.

*Please note that students are required to cover the cost of personal travel to the residency, as well as lodging and transportation.

Financial Aid

Because the Sports Philanthropy Certificate program is a non-degree program, federally funded student loan programs are not generally available and the program is not eligible for deferment of such loans. But private lending institutions may be able to finance your education.

Where are Classes Held?

Classes for the Sports Philanthropy Certificate program are held on-line with the exception of the residency which will be held in a location where best practices in sports philanthropy can be experienced first hand.

Important Policies

Extension & Reinstatement Policy

The Sports Philanthropy Certificate program is a five-month program. After the residency program, you will have five months to complete your courses and group assignment. If for some reason during the five-month period you need an extension, you can request one by forwarding a letter of explanation to

Staff will review your request and determine if it will be granted. You can only receive one extension for a maximum of six months.

Refund Policy

If a student withdraws form the program 30 days before the start date, refund is 100% of tuition minus a $100 withdrawal fee. If a student withdraws from the program within seven days of the start date, no refund is granted. A student who withdraws between the 30- and seven-day will either receive a full credit to the program the following year or a 50% refund.

For More Information

For more information on courses, faculty, residency or other general questions, contact the Sports Philanthropy Certificate program at or (202) 994-2577.

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