New York, NY (October 6, 2020): The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), for the first time ever, will host the Annual Salute to Women in Sports via a free, online broadcast produced by Yahoo Sports at 8PM ET on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Reflecting the global impact of the pandemic that continues to grip the world, and a nation waking up to systemic racial injustice, WSF has chosen the theme Speak with Sport to recognize athletes and leaders who are boldly using their voices and platforms to push for equality and justice. The Salute is presented by Athleta, espnW, Gatorade, NBC Sports Group, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Yahoo Sports.
As unsettling as 2020 has been, highlighting the need for listening, learning and introspection, WSF is illuminating a path to action and transformation. The fight for equality is the very cornerstone of the Women’s Sports Foundation, which believes that every girl and woman deserve access and opportunity to reap the benefits of sport and play, to help discover her limitless potential, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or ability. Despite the hurdles of this year, WSF remains steadfast and determined in its mission: to serve as the ally, advocate and catalyst for tomorrow’s leaders.
“I am encouraged and optimistic about the opportunity for true, meaningful change in our world, thanks to the powerful voices and bold actions of female athletes and leaders this year,” said WSF Founder Billie Jean King. “As we know, sport is a microcosm of society; it gives athletes a powerful platform to connect, unite and inspire both on and off the field of play. We at the Women’s Sports Foundation appreciate all the athletes and leaders who advocate alongside us for equality, and we are delighted to honor them at our Annual Salute to Women in Sports.”
A robust roster of icons, athletes and honorees will join WSF and its Founder in celebrating women’s sports and its ability to inspire millions of youth, families and communities to embrace the power of sport, and to join the WSF’s movement toward equality. The event will be hosted by four-time undefeated boxing world champion Laila Ali and will feature athlete and guest appearances including: Academy Award-winning actress and founder of the new women’s soccer team Angel City, Natalie Portman; two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Carli Lloyd; six-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback Tom Brady; WNBA Champion and MVP Candace Parker; and many more.
A highlight of the Annual Salute will be the three signature awards honoring those whose work embodies hallmarks of the Foundation’s mission. As such, WSF will be recognizing the Players of the WNBA for their bold courage in speaking out and dedicating their season to social and racial justice; Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians for championing gender equality in his hiring practices and team initiatives; and former CEO and Chairman of Xerox Corporation and VEON Ltd Ursula Burns for her barrier-breaking leadership in corporate America. The Foundation will also pay tribute to ‘the Original 9’ who bravely put their tennis careers on the line 50 years ago– creating a roadmap for many women’s leagues and female athletes who continue the fight for equal pay and equal play today.
“The importance for our Annual Salute celebration and call-to-action for equality in sports and society, is more meaningful than ever in these unprecedented times,” expressed WSF President and five-time Paralympic medalist, Alana Nichols. “Our event this year will be unlike any other, yet consistent with our ability to showcase the power of women athletes and to inspire young girls across the country. The Women’s Sports Foundation is determined to help unlock the possibilities of every girl and woman through the power of sport.”
The event will also showcase and celebrate the community partners, girls, coaches and athletes WSF supports and serves. As this is the Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser, WSF is partnering with leading impact marketplace Charitybuzz, to host an online auction from October 6-22. Funds raised will benefit the WSF mission to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. To learn more about the auction, please visit charitybuzz.com/WSF
The Salute broadcast will be preceded by an exclusive, on-line Red Carpet Cocktail Party for donors and sponsors co-hosted by renown sports broadcasters Julie Foudy and LaChina Robinson. This one-of-a-kind event will give attendees a unique, inside glimpse of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, opportunity to learn more about the Foundation’s legacy of presidents, and feature other fun activities and surprises. Donors starting at the ‘Fan Level’ and up, will have exclusive access.
About the Annual Salute to Women in Sports Honors– The signature awards and their recipients include:
Wilma Rudolph Courage Award is presented to an athlete or a team who exhibits extraordinary courage in their athletic performance, demonstrates the ability to overcome adversity, makes significant contributions to sports and serves as a role model.
- Players of the Women’s National Basketball Association – to be accepted by Layshia Clarendon of the New York Liberty and member of WNBA Social Justice Council, in recognition of the Players dedicating their 2020 season to victims of police brutality and the fight for racial equality and social justice.
Champion for Equality Award acknowledges an individual or organization that shows unwavering commitment to gender equality and to the advancement of women and girls in sports.
- Bruce Arians, Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – for his work in assembling one of the most gender diverse staffs in the NFL. Arians and the Buccaneers leadership have hired two full-time women assistant coaches to his coaching staff, added more women to the front office, and have been at the forefront of advancing girls flag football through its Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football programs and Buccaneers Girls in Football Scholarship.
Billie Jean King Leadership Award presented with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, recognizes an individual or group who demonstrates outstanding leadership and makes significant contributions to the advancement of women through achievements in sport and the workplace.
- Ursula Burns, former CEO and Chairman of Xerox Corporation and VEON Ltd. – for breaking down racial and gender barriers in the workplace as the first Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, having helped launch the WomanMakers Initiative to record Black women’s histories, and served on United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors.
To learn more about the award recipients and their work, please visit https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/get-involved/annual-salute-details/
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About the Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has positively shaped the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. The WSF leadership team, led by CEO Deborah Antoine, are building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports.® To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org
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