Leading sports organizations in Charlotte, NC, have joined together to offer new and enriching experiences for young people interested in the sports industry. The first-ever Charlotte Difference Makers Sports Fellowship in partnership with Sports Biz Camps will be a nine-month professional development and leadership program for Charlotte area college students. Kicking off this summer, the inclusive cohort of 12 fellows will receive access, professional experience and mentorship across an unprecedented collection of community-minded sports companies. To promote greater levels of equity and inclusion within the Charlotte sports industry, fellows will represent marginalized populations who historically have been underrepresented in leadership positions across sports.
Participating organizations in the Charlotte market include: 23XI Racing SPEED Institute, Bespoke Sports & Entertainment, Carolina Panthers, Charlotte 49ers, Charlotte FC, Charlotte Sports Foundation, Elevate Sports Ventures, Hornets Sports & Entertainment, NASCAR, RFK Racing, Sports Business Journal, and Truist. In addition to providing access and accommodations for participating students, each organization has pledged financial support to Sports Biz Camps, providing scholarships to fellows and fully funding all programming and support costs.
“We’re excited and humbled by the support across the Charlotte sports business community. This fellowship will open up so many doors for our students and help them build social capital to last their careers and lives,” says Gerard Littlejohn, Board Chair at Sports Biz Camps
“The Charlotte Sports Foundation is thrilled to be a part of this fellowship and support the opportunities it offers,” said Will Pitts, Associate Executive Director of CSF. “We look forward to providing meaningful business experiences and a unique learning environment to what should be a tremendous group of scholars.”
Leaders representing sports organizations in Charlotte began meeting formally last year and collectively supported an effort around offering educational workplace experiences in the vibrant sports industry to students attending 1 of 9 local colleges and universities. They then enlisted Charlotte-based Sports Biz Camps for its expertise and operational leadership. Applications for an initial pilot program starting in May opened this month.
“Sports have always had the power to bring people together, and our region’s sports leaders have united to work together as a team to be real agents for change and provide unique opportunities for young people interested in getting hands-on experience in the dynamic world of sports,” said Abe Madkour, Publisher & Executive Editor of Sports Business Journal.