The BWSF Story
During the evolving era of the 1960’s and 70’s, four female teens aspired to challenge the assumptions about black women’s participation in non-traditional sports. Encouraged and motivated by mentors and their families, they explored their options to engage in the world of sport beyond the limitations that existed, particularly for black women in their particular areas of interest. More importantly, they recognized that their opportunities for life success would be enhanced through their academic and athletic pursuits, as they developed the critical life-learning skills that characterize the arena of sports. Eventually, the paths of the four women – Tina Sloan Green, Dr. Alpha Alexander, Dr. Nikki Franke, and Linda Greene, Esq. – would cross at Temple University and, realizing the dearth of black female participants and role models in the field, they organized the founding of the Black Women in Sport Foundation.
Established in 1992, the Black Women in Sport Foundation, or BWSF, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the involvement of black women and girls in all aspects of sport, including athletics, coaching and administration. BWSF’s work, however, is not limited to black women and girls. It enrolls girls and boys in the programs conducted throughout the city of Philadelphia and surrounding areas. It facilitates the involvement of women of color in every aspect of sport in the United States and around the world, through the "hands-on" development and management of grass roots level outreach programs.
Active involvement in sports, as a way of life, utilizes character-building experiences that are proven ways to encourage perseverance, self-discipline and teamwork, qualities that are the cornerstones to achievement in both sports and life. All young women need to develop these attributes, and it is especially important that girls and young women of color emphasize develop these skills to serve as a bridge in overcoming situations where they may be subjected to disproportionate rates of social and economic barriers.
BWSF is unique in its ability to address the needs and dreams of girls and young women, and in defining optimal ways that lead and support them on their paths to life-long achievement. Through their involvement in BWSF, program participants receive judgment-free guidance to assist them in maximizing their full potential, in and out of sport.
With the introduction of professional women's basketball leagues, increased sponsor support for women's athletic endeavors, and new young stars on the horizon, the participation of women, in the world of sports, continues to grow in popularity. The enactment of Title IX has helped to break down barriers for women and girls in sports, as well as providing more access in multiple areas of academic pursuit.
Since its inception, BWSF has successfully delivered programs that introduce and sustain the ideals of competitive play, teamwork, and academic achievement. Many of our alumni have gone on to achieve success in their respective fields. Structured programs, workshops, and mentoring are key components that balance the emotional, motivational, and even nurturing support that participants find in BWSF. As we continue to reach out to girls and young women to aid them in understanding and navigating the myriad challenges that can occur on and off the field, we, too will embrace new opportunities and partnerships that enhance the work of BWSF, celebrate the achievements of our participants, and maintain an outlook that has defined and helped to contribute to the changing landscape of women in sport.