Sports have the power to change the world and unite people like nothing else.
That has never been more evident than in recent years with the volume of youth movements occurring across the country, where young leaders are working within their local communities to tackle pressing issues and provide sustainable solutions, all through the power of sport.
As part of the 2022 ESPYS, ESPN’s Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award will once again celebrate the legendary sports icon’s commitment to leadership and service, while honoring high school and college-aged students who, like Billie Jean King, use the power of sports to improve their communities. Honorees of the Award — which was created in 2019 — will be recognized during the televised special in mid-July.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in all federally funded school or other education programs, including sports. The law opened doors and removed barriers for girls and women. The ground-breaking gender equity law made a lasting impact by increasing the participation of girls and women in athletics. Since Title IX’s passage, female participation at the high school level has grown by 1057% and by 614% at the college level.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX this year, ESPN will recognize five young women who are using the power of sports to improve their communities by advancing gender equality through the Billie Jean King Youth LeadershipAward.
Successful Applicants Will
• Demonstrate how she/they use the power of sport as acatalyst for change within her/their local school or community. This means that she/they intentionally use(s) sport to change the way people think, how they feel and compels them to act. For additional information about the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award, as well as a recap of last year’s honorees, please click here.
• Deliver social impact showcasing how her/their community has been positively impacted. This cannot be just participating in an existing program owned by a nonprofit, but about how the nominee is going above and beyond with her/their contribution and her/their work being unique.
• Be passionate about advancinggender equality and demonstrate what she/they did to advance gender equality in her/their community.
• Be passionate and committed to empowering the community in which she/they live.
• Embody confidence and enthusiasm as a leader and have strong moral character.
• Personify exemplary leadership qualities on and off the field.
In order to apply you MUST meet the following criteria:
• Be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. national or permanent resident.
• Identify as a girl or a young woman.
• Be under 25 years of age.
• If being considered for a scholarship, the nominee must be a student who has a demonstrated financial need as verified by their college or university, and must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
• For academic scholarships, applicant must be a rising High School Senior or current College Freshman, Sophomore, or Junior attending an accredited 4-year college or university.
• For a donation to an eligible nonprofit, applicant can be a High School Freshman, Sophomore, Junior or Senior or current College Freshman, Sophomore, Junior or Senior.
• The word count is a maximum number, not a target number.
• The program(s) put forward in the application must be delivered in the U.S. and the affiliated charity must be a U.S. based charity registered with the IRS.
• Images submitted must be high resolution and front-facing photos with no other people in them.
• One-time academic scholarships are awarded in the amount of $10,000 to an accredited college or university where this individual has been accepted and plans to attend or is currently enrolled, or a donation of $10,000 to the nonprofit charity aligned with the nomination, as long as it meets The Walt Disney Company's charitable giving guidelines and award program eligibility criteria.
• Scholarships are applicable for one-year only and are non-renewable.
• Funds cannot be granted to an individual but rather the accredited college or university where the individual has been accepted and plans to attend or is currently enrolled or the nonprofit charity of their choice.
• Be honored during the ESPYS, joining the incredible winners and honorees of other prestigious awards, including the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award.
• Receive either a one-time $10,000 college scholarship or direct a grant to an eligible nonprofit aligned with their work.
• Participate in experiential learning and development programs over the next year to receive mentoring and leadership coaching, while engaging with senior leaders in the sport industry and attending sport-for-development workshops.
• Meet and learn from tennis legend and social activist, Billie Jean King.
• Join the award’s alumni program — a powerful network of young leaders using the power of sports to create social good in their communities.
• There will be two virtual webinars held throughout the application period to provide opportunities for any questions to be addressed. The first one will be held on Tuesday, April 19 from 12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET and the second one will be held on Tuesday, May 17 from 12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET. To sign up for the webinars or view the recordings click here.