Mark Rolison owner of Frontier Medical Products and Beechwood Cheese Company recently founded GloBall Giving, a new nonprofit focused on providing new and lightly used sporting goods and uniforms to underprivileged children in developing countries.
The organization has already shipped more than 5,000 pounds of sporting equipment and hopes to hire an executive director and more local staff soon.
“I’ve always really enjoyed giving back to the community,” Rolison said. “I’ve been involved with an international Habitat for Humanity group for quite some time, but I never really got an opportunity to start my own nonprofit until this one.”
Rolison took a humanitarian trip to Kenya in 2011. While there he visited a school where they only had one soccer ball for 250 kids, he said.
“We had just brought a couple of soccer balls with us, but we ended up giving them to that school. The response was incredible. They were so appreciative and couldn’t wait to get outside and play with them.”
After doing some research, Rolison discovered there really wasn’t an organization that existed on a national level that could offer sporting goods and equipment to developing countries.
“I knew we had to do this,” he said. “Contrary to what we may think, the World Health Organization childhood obesity is actually on the rise in developing countries. In addition to offering children a chance to get out and play we’re hoping the additional exercise will also help combat some of those obesity issues.”
GloBall Giving is focused on collecting mostly soccer, baseball and basketball sporting equipment and uniforms, Rolison said.
“These are the sports most developing countries are playing,” he added. “But we also collect clip boards, whistles, and waterbottles for coaches and athletes as well.”
Currently Rolison has collection bins set up and is shipping the donations with some of the organization’s board members. There is no full time staff.
“GloBall has been able to acquire a lot of great equipment in a short period of time by utilizing donated collection barrels,” states Andy Wiziarde, one of GloBall Giving’s board members. As the organization grows, the idea will be to partner with schools, organizations and retailers to bolster the collection efforts. “There will never be a shortage of equipment and deserving children.”
Rolison and the other board members hope to grow GloBall Giving into a nationally recognized organization.
“As we grow, it is our goal to become a nationally recognized charity, establish strong relationships internationally and help create jobs locally”, Rolison said. “In order to do that though we will need enough initial funding to support a local staff.”
GloBall Giving has collected some donations for shipping and sustainability already, but plans to host it’s first major fundraising gala in October of this year.
“We need to hire someone that will be entirely focused on this cause,” he said. “I’ve got two businesses to run, but once someone is in here making relationships with manufacturers, retailers, professional sports teams and more schools, churches and the like we expect this to grow and grow quickly because there’s a need out there. I’ve been so touched at people’s generosity already, I can’t wait to see where this cause can go and the impact we can make for children around the world.”
To find out how to donate your used sporting goods, visit www.globallgiving.org.