Milwaukee, Wisconsin/USA, 6 April 2023 - Sport at the Service of Humanity Foundation (SSH) and Save the Dream, thanks to the support of the Solow Art and Architecture Foundation, initiated today a flagship pilot project of the “Humanity Sports Club” digital platform. This project is addressed to local sport providers and faith-based organizations, and civil society collaborators willing to embrace the use of sport as a tool to promote social inclusion and inter-faith dialogue.
The platform aims to support the practice of sport and the promotion of its educational and societal values across communities from different faiths in the City of Milwaukee, State of Wisconsin, USA. This will happen through the mobilization of the local networks, technical resources, expertise, and knowledge accessible through the Global Digital Community launched in December 2021, with inspiration coming from The Vatican Dicastery for Culture and Education (DCE). This pilot project which will be tested on the ground, for the time, by a group of over 30 local stakeholders in and around Milwaukee.
Milwaukee has been chosen as the ideal environment to implement the project and to serve as a model for sport collaboration with faith-based communities in other cities in the US and other nations across the world. Those networks will use the resources accessible through the Humanity Sports Club global digital community to build local self-sustainable eco-systems directly connected, through technology, to global knowledge.
Milwaukee has often been referred to as a City of Steeples as its immigrant history created a melting pot of various cultures and faith traditions. Each group formed close-knit communities centered around neighborhood places of worship, with services in their native languages. As a result, a diverse spectrum of denominations has emerged, with more than 1,000 historic and contemporary places of worship. At the same time, Milwaukee’s local sports culture is steeped in passion and success around major professional teams, and college and university athletic departments.
The kick-off meeting of the Milwaukee digital community took place during a special event held at Marquette University, on the occasion of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, celebrated each year on April 6.
The event brought together local experts and sport providers from NGOs and non-profits, faith institutions, academia, civil society, and other relevant organizations, to identify local needs and end-users, and to help identify existing capacities, cooperation and collaboration opportunities, unique challenges, and specific needs.
The workshop was opened by Father Jim Voiss, of Marquette University, which will host he Sport at the Service of Humanity (SSH) Regional Conference in November, 2023, to explore how to leverage the passion of sport combined with the passion and power of faith to serve humanity. Philip Leopold, CEO of SSH Foundation said, “The generosity of Marquette’s willingness to support this conference legacy project is remarkable, and on behalf of SSH I’d like to express our sincerest thanks. The Humanity Sports Club digital platform will undoubtedly deliver positive impact in and around Milwaukee, and allow us to learn and revise, improve, and eventually replicate and scale. This launch meeting was an early critical learning opportunity, for us to hear directly from grassroots providers what pain points might be relieved by a digital platform solution.”
Mr. Massimiliano Montanari, CEO of Save the Dream, said, “Sport and faith share the core values of respect, love and togetherness, and through this project we aim at creating a global network of different faith-based communities and give them access to models and knowledge to embrace the use of sport as a tool to empower youth and promote social inclusion".
Participants took part in three thematic sessions, including the Intersection of Sport and Faith; Sport within Faith-Based Organizations, and vice versa; and Bridging Global Knowledge to Local Solutions. They discussed and issued initial recommendations on specific local needs, priorities, and a timeline for testing the digital platform, featuring networking structure and tools, and knowledge-sharing case studies, good and best practices, surveys, and other resources.