RISE & Stephen Ross Honored at Sports Humanitarian Awards

Posted Jul 25, 2017

Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross and his organization RISE will be featured Tuesday night when ESPN showcases highlights from the Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN and sponsored by Bristol-Myers during a special one-hour program at 7 p.m. ET.

The third annual event, held last week at the L.A. LIVE’s The Novo, celebrated and honored leagues, teams, individuals and members of the sporting community that have used the power of sport to make a positive impact on society. 

RISE, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, was among three recipients of the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE award. In accepting the award, Ross urged those in attendance last week to use their platform to effect positive change in their communities and said, “We are so lucky to be involved in sports.”

RISE was recognized for a series of initiatives, including a series of town halls, its commUNITY Tailgate before every home game at Hard Rock Stadium, and a Sheriff’s Office ride-along and community visits in December.

The efforts of RISE were among three case studies, along with those involving the Seattle Seahawks and the WNBA’s New York Liberty, presented in February at the RISE Super Town Hall. The case study said, “The Miami Dolphins’ efforts to promote meaningful engagement between law enforcement and local communities of color are a model for converting activism into action and illustrate the power of sports to bring people together to build relationships, heal divisions and promote a greater understanding for each others’ work and struggles.” 

More than $1.1 million was raised through the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Awards, which will benefit the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at The V Foundation. Additionally, ESPN will grant an additional $1 million to the charities of the nominees and winners. In total, more than $2 million will be distributed to the community as a result of the initiative. The winners and honorees were able to direct a $100,000 grant from ESPN to a qualified charity related to the award-winning humanitarian efforts. Each finalist will be able to direct a $25,000 grant to the charity related to their award-winning efforts. 

During the event, winners were honored from four award categories, along with the ENSPIRE recipients — the newly renamed Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year, Corporate Community Impact Award and League Humanitarian Leadership Award. The evening opened with a video tribute to Muhammad Ali, written by ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and voiced by Laila Ali, who returned for the third time as host alongside first-time co-host Mike Greenberg, and the event closed with a live performance by Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle. Laila Ali captured her father’s legacy of humanitarianism when she quoted him in her opening remarks: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

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