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.