Date of Graduation

Spring 5-17-2019

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA)


School of Management

First Advisor

Dr. Marco Tavanti


As one of the most common structured activities for youth, sport provides numerous opportunities for children to learn to lead healthy, active lifestyles. Additionally, the popularity of sport among young people makes it an effective platform for Positive Youth Development (PYD). However, merely participating in sport does not guarantee that youth will develop positive character traits or acquire important life skills. For that reason, nonprofit organizations that offer sport-based youth development programs must have targeted approaches to facilitating opportunities for learning and growth. This study focuses on the methods of youth programming utilized by the charitable affiliates of five professional sport teams. Through in- depth interviews with program leaders and thematic analysis of collected data, this research identifies definitions of success and key elements of effective sport-based youth development programs in underserved communities. Additionally, the findings presented here highlight the importance of relationship-building and cross-sector partnerships among organizations that offer sport-based youth development programs. This research culminates with a model and recommendations for continued program success among sport-based youth development providers in the nonprofit space. Results of this study can be applied beyond professional sport team charities to any community-based organization seeking to positively impact youth through sport.