Project Play explores breakthrough ideas at three types of public events: Summits for large gatherings, all-day deep dive roundtables with 20-25 thought leaders, and keynotes or panels held at major conferences of stakeholder organizations

Leaders and stakeholders from across East Baltimore are convening at the UA House to explore the State of Play: Baltimore report, and consider ways the community can work together to grow the quality and quantity of sport options for youth in East Baltimore.

For more information, please email Andre Fountain at

June 22, 2017
12:00 pm to 5:15 pm
Baltimore, MD


May 30, 2017 to June 3, 2017
Denver, CO
North American Society for Sport Management

Aspen Institute executive director Tom Farrey delivers the keynote address at the 2017 national conference of the North American Society for Sport Management, which supports and assists professionals working in the fields of sport, leisure and recreation. The purpose of the NASSM is to promote, stimulate, and encourage study, research, scholarly writing, and professional development in the area of sport management - both theoretical and applied aspects. Topics of interest to NASSM members include sport marketing, future directions in management, employment perspectives, management competencies, leadership, sport and the law, personnel management, facility management, organizational structures, fund-raising, and conflict resolution. Farrey's keynote, on next steps in building the sport-for-all movement, will deliver his keynote June 2 at 9:20amMT.

June 22, 2017
Baltimore, MD
UA House at Fayette

Leaders and stakeholders from across East Baltimore are convening at the UA House to explore the State of Play: Baltimore report, and consider ways the community can work together to grow the quality and quantity of sport options for youth in East Baltimore.

For more information, please email Andre Fountain at

September 6, 2017 to September 7, 2017
Washington, DC

The annual Project Play Summit is the nation's premier gathering of leaders at the intersection of youth, sports, and health. Past speakers have included First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, journalist Michael Wilbon, Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix, and tennis and civil rights legend Billie Jean King. In its third year, the Summit expands to two days (Sept. 6th at the Newseum, Sept. 7th at The Aspen Institute), offering more opportunities to learn, connect, and make sport accessible to all youth, regardless of zip code or ability. Agenda is TBA. Expect big names, major announcements, and the release of useful tools.

Check back in May to register for the Summit, sponsored by Target, the Harris Family Charitable Foundation, and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

March 15, 2017
Baltimore, MD
UA House at Fayette

Four years ago, the Aspen Institute launched Project Play, an initiative to provide leaders with the guidance to help sport build healthy communities. Now, Under Armour and other community leaders are bringing Project Play to Baltimore. The goal: with teamwork, expand the quality and quantity of sport experiences for local youth so they can receive all of the associated physical, mental and social-emotional benefits.   

Join us to learn about how your organizations can play a role in – and benefit from – the initiative.

Project Play: Baltimore Community Night

Wed. March 15 | 7 pm - 8:30 pm

UA House @ Fayette | 1100 E. Fayette St.

Light refreshments will be served


RSVP to Andre Fountain by March 7th 



"The challenge now is to take this literally on the road and impact communities"

Surgeon Vivek Murthy on Project Play report






March 12, 2017
Austin, TX
Four Seasons Hotel

Knowledge about the best practices in raising young athletes is constantly evolving. At this SXSW panel, Sports & Society Executive Director Tom Farrey joins Matt Bowers, Clinical Assistant Professor of Sport Management, University of Texas at Austin; Christine Bolger, Associate Director of Coaching Education, United States Olympic Committee; and Emmanuel Acho, NFL Linebacker/Media Personality to share the latest advancements in the science and policies in youth sports. The goal: to help parents (and those interested in youth sports) navigate the maze of new information on raising good athletes...and good kids. 

January 31, 2017

The mission of the Aspen Institute is to foster values-based leadership and explore big ideas that serve the common good. So what does values-based leadership mean to NBA commissioner Adam Silver? And what ideas has he developed in his first two years as the head of organization that has engaged on social issues, while developing new partnerships with media companies and players?

Tom Farrey, executive director for the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program and an Emmy award-winning journalist, explores that terrain in conversation with Silver, ranked the most influential executive in sports by the SportsBusiness Journal. The discussion is open to members of the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows group, on a first-come basis (capacity has been reached).

More event information is here.

January 27, 2017
Mexico City,

In partnership with Aspen Institute Mexico, Nike, and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Project Play hosted its debut international roundtable in Mexico City.

Bringing together 50+ leaders from business, government, and NGOs, at the intersection of youth, sport, and health, Project Play explored the opportunity to launch a symbiotic effort in Mexico.

For more information in English, email Risa Isard ( For more information in Spanish, email Mariana Solano (


En conjunto con el Aspen Institute México, Nike, y Laureus, Project Play tuvo su debut internacional en la Ciudad de México con una mesa redonda.

Reuniendo alrededor de 50 líderes de diferentes empresas, funcionarios de gobierno y ONGs, Project Play exploró la oportunidad de lanzar un esfuerzo simbiótico en México.

Para más información en inglés, puedes escribir al siguiente correo: Risa Isard (

Para más información en español, puedes escribir al siguiente correo: Jan Cristobal (

December 6, 2016
New Orleans, LA
Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market

What if non-profits, government, schools, philanthropy, business, pro sports governing bodies and leagues, and the media worked together to apply the best strategies for changing the city through sport + physical activity? 

What if these strategies addressed key elements of increasing levels of sport & physical activity while also achieving important social development outcomes? 

What if the best learnings from collective impact and the global sport for development movement were leveraged to ensure change that is comprehensive and lasting, resulting in improved health, better education, more equitable employment and economic opportunity, and more prosperous and integrated communities?

The New Orleans Sport for Community Coalition, alongside Laureus Sport for Good USA and The Aspen Institute, hosted a community summit to discuss the work currently happening in New Orleans to move these questions from hypotheticals to reality. 

Over the course of the summit, participants addressed the targeted use of sports-based youth development in New Orleans, learned from collective impact experts about how to move the work forward, and charted concrete actions for how supporters from diverse sectors can work together to improve the lives of children and youth through the transformative power of sport.  

Featured speakers included ESPN's Michael Smith and the Aspen Institute's President and CEO Walter Isaacson, Sports & Society executive director Tom Farrey, and program associate Risa Isard.

Email Risa Isard with any questions (

November 22, 2016
Baltimore, MD

Baltimore has a rich history of developing its children and communities through sport participation, from the early days of Babe Ruth to the proliferation of recreation centers that anchored communities throughout the city. Now, working with key local stakeholders, we aim to write the next great chapter, through a unique initiative designed to create new opportunities for youth, ensuring access to and participation in sport.

Project Play: Baltimore is based on a simple idea: That no single organization can do this alone. Only through teamwork can leaders and caregivers expand the quality and quantity of sport experiences for local youth so they may receive all of the associated physical, mental and social-emotional benefits.

To help civic and sport groups mobilize, Under Armour is partnering with the Aspen Institute – a nonprofit and leader in the effort to mobilize communities in cross-sector collaboration and innovation.

In the 2015 report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game, the Aspen Institute offers eight strategies for the eight sectors that touch the lives of children. This playbook will be the basis for which Project Play: Baltimore is constructed.

Project Play: Baltimore is a bold experiment designed to serve and inspire a community while building a roadmap for future implementation in Baltimore and beyond. The newly revitalized community center on Fayette Street will serve as the hub for the initiative.

The project’s initial three-year focus will be on East Baltimore, specifically a two-square mile area that is home to 20 schools and approximately 12,000 children. To drive the effort, Under Armour and the Aspen Institute will:

  • Take measure of the State of Play in East Baltimore through an environmental scan
  • Share knowledge on how on how to build healthy kids and communities through sport
  • Host local stakeholders to identify needs, discover resources, and set shared goals
  • Initiate relationships with regional and national organizations to assist in the effort
  • Provide a project manager dedicated to engaging participating groups and driving Collective Impact
  • Document and share findings with the goal of driving results across the city and country

Project Contact: Andre Fountain, Project Coordinator,

October 22, 2016
San Francisco, CA

As part of the roundtable discussion on Promoting Physical Literacy in American Youth at the 2016 annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Sports & Society Executive Director Tom Farrey will address a group of medical leaders on the topic of "Media & Technology: Using it to Promote Physical Literacy." The full agenda for the morning is below.

8:00-8:45 AM          Media & Technology: Using it to Promote Physical Literacy 
8:45-9:20 AM         Health Care Providers: Tools to Assess Physical Literacy  
9:20-9:55 AM         Leading the Way: Physical Literacy Programs at Work in Communities
9:55-10:30 AM       Fostering the Youth Sport Ethos in Organized Sports 
10:30-11:00 AM     Roundtable Discussion 
October 5, 2016
Washington, DC
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, American College of Sports Medicine, the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins, and Laureus Foundation USA hosted the Innovation Summit: Moving American Health Across the Spectrum of Physical Activity. This invitation-only conference convened leaders from sport, physical activity, health, science, and technology across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. An academic journal article identifying next steps in elevating the most promising initiatives and developments in the space is forthcoming.

The day included speaker presentations, ideation workgroups, and a fireside chat with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy. Other featured speakers included Sports & Society Program executive director Tom Farrey and program associate Risa Isard, Justin Kaufenberg of SportsEngine, Dr. Brian Hainline of the NCAA, Woody Scal of Fitbit, Tom Cove of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, and Edwin Moses, Missy Franklin, Bob Lujano and Benita Fitzgerald Mosley of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

WATCH: A Fireside Chat with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

More video is available here. Revisit the conversation via hashtag #SportHealthInnovate.

Additional information is available in the program.

9am: To Optimally Use and Build on the Compelling Science*

•    Bruce Lee: A Systems Approach to Improving Physical Activity and Health
•    Risa Isard: Building Sport for All, Play for Life Communities
•    Russ Pate: Putting the New in the New U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines 
•    Loretta Di Pietro: Building on the Progress Report from The Lancet
•    Jim Whitehead, moderator

10am: To Design the Next Phase of the Walking Movement

•    Janet Fulton: Measuring the Remarkable: Progress Since the Call to Action 
•    Jack Groppel: Snapshot of Sector Commitments and Advances 
•    Shavon Arline-Bradley: Continuing the Legacy of the Surgeon General's Call to Action
•    Kathy Smith: A Collective Voice for Walking: The Every Body Walk Collaborative 
•    David Sabgir: Walking Toward Innovation 
•    Tim Moran, moderator

11:30am: To Find Inspiration in Group Innovation*

•    Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley: Introduction
•    Bob Lujano: Inspiring Inclusion through the Paralympic Movement

12:45pm: To Score with Sports for American Society: A Strategic Panel Discussion

•    Alison Field: Health Benefits of Playing Sports and Being Active
•    Brian Hainline: Game Planning Sports for Health
•    Edwin Moses and Missy Franklin: Providing the Athlete's View 
•    Colleen Doyle, Improving Equity Related to Physical Activity
•    Melicia Whitt-Glover: Bringing Health and Equity into Sports
•    Walt Thompson, moderator

2:00pm: To Amplify the Role of Industry and Technology for Scale: Compelling Ideas and Proposals*

•    Justin Kaufenberg: DrivingSports Participation, Don't Quit Your Day Job 
•    Woody Scal: Empowering Behavior Change Through Technology
•    Tom Cove: Engaging and Collaborating with the Power of Industry
•    Tom Farrey, moderator

3:30pm: Fireside Chat: Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, moderated by Woody Scal*

Contact Risa Isard with questions:

September 8, 2016
Washington, DC
Aspen Institute

As president of the NCAA, Mark Emmert leads one of the most influential and far-reaching organizations in all of sports. Nearly 1,100 universities and colleges with more than 19,000 teams and 480,000 athletes in three divisions are members of the NCAA, whose policies and practices impact the lives of people – and not just fans – in every community in United States.

Today, more than $2.7 billion in athletic scholarship aid is distributed annually, up from $250 million in the early 1990s. The opportunity to play, and receive the benefits of participation in, college sports has reshaped the landscape of youth and high school sports over the past generation. Under Emmert since 2010, the NCAA has made health and wellness of young athletes at all levels a stated priority, along with the opportunity to receive a quality education. 

Sports & Society Program executive director Tom Farrey engaged Emmert in conversation about the role of the NCAA in building productive citizens and communities. How can it best promote mental and physical health from the college level down to the youth leagues? How can it provide athletic and educational opportunities for students from all communities, regardless of zip code? How much influence can it have at a time when the organization is being tested in the courts on a variety of issues, including athlete welfare?

The wide-ranging conversation with Emmert was followed by audience Q&A. 


News Coverage
"NCAA prez concerned by Texas swimming paid $740K for winning Olympic gold," by Jon Solomon, CBS Sports
"Mark Emmert says NCAA might rethink Olympic payouts to student-athletes," by Steve Berkowitz, USA Today
"Leave it be NCAA; let collegiate Olympians keep the cash," by Nicole Auerbach, USA Today
"Katie Ledecky earned $355,000 in medal bonuses from Rio Olympics performance," by Christine Brennan and Steve Berkowitz, USA Today

Event Photos on Flickr

About Mark Emmert
Mark Emmert became the fifth president of the NCAA in 2010. Before then, Emmert was president of his alma mater, the University of Washington, beginning in 2004. He also served as chancellor of Louisiana State University (1999-2004), provost and chancellor of the University of Connecticut (1995-1999), provost and vice president for academic affairs at Montana State University-Bozeman (1992-1995) and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1985-1992). Emmert graduated from Washington with a degree in political science and has both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in public administration from Syracuse University. Emmert and his wife DeLaine have two adult children and three grandchildren.


August 25, 2016
Dallas, TX

Sports & Society executive director Tom Farrey will address more than 400 representatives from National Governing Bodies, sports commissions, and visitors bureaus at the 9th Annual Olympic SportsLink, an event designed to provide unique opportunities to create strategic partnerships between NGBs and cities, sports commissions, convention centers and visitors bureaus interested in Olympic/Paralympic sport and hosting U.S. Olympic Team Trials and championship events. Cities attending will gain a better understanding of the impact on host communities. SportsLink also focuses on sharing best practices in the sports event industry, including in youth sports.