When I met Tim and Arnold, two big players behind One World Play Project, at the B Corp conference this past April (The company received an Edison award shortly afterwards—congratulations!), I was blown away by the sportsmanship they displayed during a presentation on small business ethics. They were team players: supportive, encouraging, and respectful. While we usually talk about sportsmanship within the context of sports, sportsmanship is a character trait that transcends fields, pitches, or arenas. Being a good sport is not about being a talented player; it is a valuable character trait that is cultivated through the act of play and helps us in every aspect of our life. One World Play Project exemplifies sportsmanship in every avenue of its business practice and cultivates sportsmanship in communities across the globe.
It started with a simple concept: A ball. But not just any ball: the world’s first ultra-durable ball. “The One World Futbol is a simple yet major breakthrough in technology, dramatically improving the ability for children to play soccer among other activities. Unlike traditional balls, the One World Futbol never needs a pump and will never go flat even when punctured. It is made from unique (proprietary) cross-linked, closed cell foam that enables the ball to withstand harsh environments without wearing out, providing endless play where a standard football could not.” They began as One World Futbol Project in 2010 and have since expanded into One World Play Project. They make, sell, and distribute their innovative futbols and cricket balls.
Buy One, Give One: With your purchase of a One World Futbol, another One World Futbol is donated to a campaign of your choosing, including All Girls Can Play and Ethiopia Reads. You can also choose to simply give a ball, or purchase in bulk. You can even start your own campaign and raise One World Futbol donations for your own organization or another group that may need balls.
Of sportsmanship: “Play is in our DNA—a need as important as food, medicine and shelter. It’s an intrinsic part of our lives, regardless of geography or culture, and through play we become stronger individuals, build better communities and create a more positive future.”
What is the power of play? “Play empowers and connects us. It enables hope, opportunity and optimism. To us, there is nothing more essential than play. Play doesn’t just belong on the schoolyard—it heals and rebuilds communities devastated by war, disaster, disease and poverty. Through play we help individuals and communities thrive and transform themselves and the world.”
In addition to play, giving makes up the backbone of sportsmanship— and the company. One World Play Project has partnered with thousands of nonprofits, community-based organizations and agencies worldwide to distribute One World Futbols. One World Play Project distributes their balls to organizations to be used as a shared resource accessible to the whole community. They carefully select communities with the greatest need that offer the greatest impact that are open to all, regardless of gender, race or political or religious affiliation.
They’ve changed the ball; now they’re changing the game.