Leadership

Orlando City Foundation

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Scoring Goals In More Ways than One

When one thinks of soccer, what do you picture? Probably intense cheering and chanting by fans filling a stadium, watching players race across a large green field, darting back and forth, strategically moving with the ball, he shoots, he scores! The ball goes into the net untouched by the goalie and the crowd erupts in either pure joy or dismay.

It’s a sport that offers excitement and adoration from fans around the world. What many don’t realize is that soccer has the potential to instill profound values in those who play, leading to positive changes. It can introduce healthy habits that turn into a healthy lifestyle. It can offer hope and inspire one to reach goals in the game, and in life. Getting right to it, soccer has the ability to change lives. The Orlando City Foundation (OCF) recognizes soccer’s many capabilities and positive influences on children, and has done something wonderful about it.

The Draw of the Foundation

The Orlando City Foundation is a non-profit organization that uses the positive influences of soccer to promote healthy lifestyle, well-being and inspiration to children, families and young adults. They aim to complete the Orlando City Soccer Club’s charitable goals, and in doing so have provided various resources to them to help drive them to reach their full potential, including outreach programs, services and funding to individuals and other organizations in need.

OCF supplies scholarships and soccer equipment (including indestructible soccer balls) and offer training programs to under-serviced children and communities who would not have the resources or access to play the sport otherwise. They continue to accomplish many acts of generosity and kindness while giving back to the community in a multitude of ways.

Acts of Lionheartedness

“The big piece for me is being able to use it as a vehicle for the community,” says foundation President Kay Rawlins. Kay has been referred to as “Orlando City Soccer’s Sweet Heart” and is the wife of founder and president of the Orlando City Soccer Club Phil Rawlins. “I think we have a duty – I think all sports teams have a duty – and we take it very seriously. We know we can effect and affect different projects we get involved in. We will make the most of that opportunity wherever and whenever we can.”

Phil and Kay share a passion for both soccer and giving back, and found a fantastic way to combine both – a soccer team. The same year the Orlando City Soccer Club was launched, Kay spearheaded the Orlando City Foundation to coincide, blending the thriving sport of soccer with the compassion to give back.

Success has come for the organization, beyond most people’s wildest speculations. Yet, despite all the fame, the organization remains dedicated to lending a hand and fulfilling their charitable aspirations. With the Orlando City Foundation, players do various activities to give back, including speaking at schools, volunteering time to play and teach soccer to kids and “without fail, they love doing hospital visits,” notes Kay. Through the foundation, they make non-profit endeavors a priority, giving back at least 28 hours of community service a season, and all with a genuine appreciation to be able to do so. “They get back as much as they give and they realize that,” says Kay. 

Want to To Learn More?

For more information on how to donate and volunteer with the Orlando City Foundation, visit www.orlandocitysc.com/foundation


This article appears in the November 2015 issue of i4 Business.
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