Sports directly influences youth development and builds the character of a nation. Playing sport is linked to better health, educational and developmental outcomes in children and youth. Through its CSR programs, the corporate sector in India has the opportunity to support, invest and leverage sports in order to create a significant societal impact. Here are some of the top CSR projects in sports sector that are focused on sports excellence programs for children and youth from disadvantages and rural communities:
HCL Foundation’s ‘Sports for Change’ Initiative
HCL Foundation’s flagship initiative, ‘Sports for Change’, works towards harnessing the positive transformative potential of sports by increasing access and participation in sport at the grassroots. As part of this initiative, HCL Foundation empowers young leaders from disadvantaged communities by channelizing their energy towards play and sports. It is an approach based on the belief that play or sport is not just an end but also an effective way to help achieve larger development goals.
As part of this initiative, Sportz Village Foundation, India’s largest youth sports platform engaged in implementing sports education and sports development programs in schools and communities has partnered with HCL Foundation as key program implementing partner. The specific aim of this partnership is to identify, train, and nurture talent in sports while making opportunities for play and physical education accessible to children and youth in middle and high school from underserved communities from districts in Noida and Lucknow. Over 15000 students across 20+ schools in Noida & Lucknow regions are benefited through the programs focused on 1. Baseline – Sports Education, 2. Sports Development and & 3. High-performance Learning Pathway. A total of 473, 66 and 11 student-athletes from the program have been selected for District, State and National level games respectively, including India Khelo Football trials and Khelo India games.
Reliance Foundation’s Young Champs Program
The Reliance Foundation’s Young Champs program was introduced in 2015 with the goal of showcasing the best 12 to 16-year-old football talent in the nation. A unique, full scholarship-based, full-time residential football and education program run in Navi Mumbai, it seeks to provide aspiring football talents from across India the opportunity to hone their skills with world-class facilities and best-in-class training. Over the years, the program has become an integral part of the Indian Super League’s commitment to nurturing football at the grassroots and elite youth levels.
LatentView Chennai Kaalpandhu League (CKL)
Latent View Analytics aims at providing sporting opportunities to talented children from under-privileged background and integrate them into existing state-enabled athlete development pathway. It collaborated with Sportz Village Foundation to one-of-a-kind structured sports training program for children across 30 schools in Chennai, that followed by Chennai Kaalpandhu League in October 2022. The league provided opportunities for talented boys and girls from government schools to take part in a competitive football setting. As part of this initiative, Sportz Village Foundation conducted a talent hunt in 30 government schools, engaging 6000+ children and identifying 180 talented boys and girls. The selected players underwent a football training program that helped hone and enhance their abilities. About 15 students were selected for scholarship towards sporting excellence pathway. The select student-athletes also went on to play in the India Khelo Football trials up to finals.
Tata Steel’s Sports Program
Tata Steel has been a leading corporate supporter of Indian sports for many years, having established academies in hockey, football, archery, athletics, and sport climbing. Through its academies and grassroots feeder centers, the company has consistently been involved in developing and fostering professional athletes.
In 1984, Tata Steel set up its Tata Youth Adventure Centre, known today as the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation. Three years later in 1987, the company launched the Tata Football Academy. Tata Archery Academy was established in 1996 and has produced many champion players like Deepika Kumari Jayanta Talukdar, Atanu Das, Limba Ram, etc.
Indian athletics, too, received a boost when Tata Steel unveiled the Tata Athletics Academy in 2004. 2017 saw the emergence of the Naval Tata Hockey Academy – a joint venture with Tata Trust with an aim to train budding hockey enthusiasts and in turn bring back the glory of Indian Hockey in the International arena.
Hindustan Zinc’s Zinc Football Program
In Rajasthan, Hindustan Zinc launched a significant initiative to promote grassroots growth and football excellence. They have established ‘ZF schools’ that promote social development through football and give young children a venue to express themselves through the game. With the guiding principle that “every child should have the opportunity to play,” ZF has established 12 community football centers where more than 350 boys and girls receive football instruction from licensed coaches.
To nurture the talent further, it has also set up the ‘ZF academy’ to develop future football stars for the country. At the center of this initiative is a Residential Academy in Zawar with top-notch amenities and the nation’s first-ever “technology-hinged football training” facility.
Central Coalfields Limited
The establishment of sports academies in Kargali, Bhurkunda, and Hazaribagh by Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) is part of a larger effort to promote various sports in Jharkhand. The proposed academies will concentrate on the holistic development of kids from various coalfields. Additionally, the students will receive free housing, instruction, and training from these institutions. CCL focuses on the all-round development of its staff and family members and has identified key areas such as education, sports, health, employment, and drinking water facilities, as part of their focus.
Steel Authority of India Limited
Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) regularly oversees inter-village sporting competitions and provides assistance to important national sporting occasions and competitions in Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Haryana.
They also support and coach aspiring sportsmen and women through its residential sports academies at Bokaro, and Rourkela- with world-class facilities at, Bhilai, Durgapur, and Kiriburu, Jharkhand.
IndusInd Bank Limited’s Girl Power Program
IndusInd Bank, in partnership with Inspire Institute of Sport – IIS, launched the program that supports 31 women-athletes in the field of Judo. The program was initiated with the aim of guiding and fostering their growth through excellent coaching, specialized academic and life skills programs, as well as a cutting-edge environment to support them in pursuing their Olympic dream. The women athletes under this program have won a total of 259 Medals – 120 gold, 48 silver, and 88 bronze up till March 2022