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Susan Crown Exchange Launches Million Coaches Challenge to Train One Million Coaches in Youth Development by 2025


With an Emphasis on Supporting Underserved Communities, Initiative to Create Powerful Coalition to Achieve Ambitious Goals;

Positive Coaching Alliance Selected as First Partner to Train Coaches in Supporting the Social and Emotional Needs of Young Athletes

CHICAGO -  October 15, 2020  – Presenting at the Aspen Institute’s annual Project Play Summit, youth-focused foundation Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) announced today its Million Coaches Challenge. This effort will train at least one million coaches in youth development by 2025. This national effort to train youth coaches was designed to capitalize on the simple but critical finding that, for kids who play sports, a good coach can be a transformational figure in their lives.

Research shows that positive sports experiences are associated with a range of benefits for youth, including: higher future earnings; less smoking and drug use; decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and childhood obesity; higher academic achievement and productivity; improved life skills; and better overall mental health and self-esteem. Through the Million Coaches Challenge, SCE will fund efforts to train one million coaches in the next five years to provide more youth athletes with access to these life-altering benefits. To help ensure a level playing field for the rising generation, at least 50% of this training will support coaches in underserved communities.

“We envision a world in which all young athletes, regardless of gender, race, ability status or their family’s income, have access to coaches who are well-versed in the youth development and skill-building techniques that help kids succeed both on and off the field,” said Haviland Rummel, Executive Director at SCE.  “By training one million coaches in youth development over the next five years, we can ensure that millions of young athletes learn how to work together, celebrate success, manage failure, and build healthy relationships with their peers.”

Partnerships to Empower Change

In order to achieve the ambitious goals of the Million Coaches Challenge, SCE is assembling a coalition of bold and innovative organizations to broaden the definition of good coaching to include youth development and social and emotional learning. Dedicated to leveraging the power of youth sports, these partners understand that training coaches to support kids on and off the field helps young athletes develop social and emotional skills like teamwork, empathy, and problem solving, significantly impacting academic, career and life outcomes.

SCE is joined in the Million Coaches Challenge by Positive Coaching Alliance and the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. PCA is the leading national non-profit dedicated to providing a positive, character-building experience for youth athletes. For more than two decades, PCA has worked to be a catalyst for a positive youth sports culture in all communities across the U.S. and joins the Million Coaches Challenge committed to leveraging its national network to train more than 400,000 youth coaches to foster the social and emotional needs of youth athletes.

“At PCA, we believe that all youth can benefit from a positive, inclusive sports culture that develops social and emotional skills, molds character and prepares them for competition and for life,” said Chris Moore, CEO at PCA. “That vision aligns perfectly with the goals of the Million Coaches Challenge and we’re thrilled to deliver our research- based training and resources to help train more than 400,000 youth coaches over the next five years. We couldn’t be in better company than to work with SCE and Aspen Institute’s Project Play in this initiative to drive real impact in the lives of American youth, especially during these incredibly challenging times.”

PCA’s position is that coaches with the social and emotional skills necessary to help young people grow to their full potential shouldn’t be one in a million and is thrilled to join this movement to provide those skills and increase those odds by a million.  As part of this initiative, PCA tapped its extensive network of coaches and student athletes to illustrate the impact social and emotional learning can have on our communities in this video.

Launched in 2013 by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, Project Play develops, applies and shares knowledge that helps build healthy communities through sports. As part of the Million Coaches Challenge, Aspen Institute Project Play is committed to sharing resources that improve the quality of coach training and change the conversation about what it means to be a good coach, including free videos and resources to get coaches and organizations started at

“Youth sports is a vast, disjointed landscape that needs initiatives like the Million Coaches Challenge to focus stakeholders on what good looks like in coaching,” said Tom Farrey, Executive Director of the Sports & Society Program. “We look forward to helping our network understand the opportunities and drive measurable progress in service of young people.”

Joining the Million Coaches Challenge

The many and diverse challenges presented by the events of the past several months will only exacerbate the hurdles facing this country’s youth. The magnitude of this impact is yet to be measured, but as young people return to play over the coming months and years, coaches will need the tools to meet their social and emotional needs.

As such, SCE is actively working to further build out this powerful coalition and has launched the search for like-minded organizations and individuals to join the Million Coaches Challenge and support its mission of addressing the social and emotional needs of youth athletes everywhere.

To become a partner in this initiative, visit

  • Apply for funding. The Susan Crown Exchange is funding a cohort of organizations to bring critical training to coaches across the country.
  • Sign up for training. Positive Coaching Alliance is offering virtual training on social and emotional skills to coaches across the country. This spring, we will announce additional training partners as part of the Million Coaches Challenge.
  • Become a funding partner. Training one million coaches is an ambitious goal. We welcome inquiries from funders interested in supporting this effort.
  • Spread the word. Together, we can change the conversation around what it means to be a good coach. Share the Million Coaches Challenge on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have any questions about how to join the Million Coaches Challenge, please reach out by email.

About Susan Crown Exchange

The Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) works to prepare youth to thrive in a rapidly changing, highly connected world. SCE primarily supports organizations that operate in out-of-school time, prioritizing initiatives that promote social and emotional learning (SEL), explore the relationships between technology and society, and build critical skills through youth sports. What unites all of SCE’s partners is their commitment to creating opportunities for young people.

Through its Exchange Philosophy, SCE strives to undo the power dynamics of traditional grantmaking relationships. SCE provides avenues for mutual dialogue and learning alongside financial support in order to elevate their partners’ outstanding work.

About Positive Coaching Alliance

As a catalyst for a positive youth sports culture, Positive Coaching Alliance provides research-based training and resources for coaches, parents, athletes, and leaders to ensure a positive youth development experience for ALL kids, in all communities across the U.S., through sports. PCA ensures sports are ‘done right’ with programming that is research-based and designed to have impact at three levels in a youth sports organization or school:

  • YOUTH experience improved life skills and character development.
  • COACHES become more positive and increase their focus on using sports to teach life lessons.
  • YOUTH SPORTS ORGANIZATIONS AND SCHOOLS see their cultures become more positive and everyone involved has more fun.

PCA believes that all youth can benefit from a positive, inclusive sports culture that develops social and emotional skills, molds character, and prepares them for competition and life. In more than two decades of work, PCA expanded from a small local nonprofit to a strong, nationwide organization that provides programming in all 50 states, reaching thousands of organizations around the country and positively impacting millions of youth athletes every year. PCA has now partnered with roughly 3,500 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver more than 20,000 live group workshops, reaching over 20 million youth.

About Aspen Institute Project Play

Launched in 2013 by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, Project Play develops, applies and shares knowledge that helps build healthy communities through sports. Project Play produces reports that take measure of the state of play at the national, regional and city levels, with exclusive data and insights. Hundreds of organizations have used its frameworks, tools, ideas and collective impact strategies to grow access to quality sport and coaching. Each fall, the program hosts the Project Play Summit, the nation's premier gathering of leaders at the intersection of youth, sport and health.