Rugby Groups Come Together To Form Global Rugby Collaborative Aiming For Social Change
A collection of 21 int'l rugby-based social change agencies have united to form the Global Rugby Collaborative, an organization that hopes to use its collective influence to help young people in under-resourced regions around the world. The launch was announced on Tuesday at the Beyond Rugby conference during the fifth annual Beyond Sports Summit at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia. GRC is the brainchild of Play Rugby USA founder Mark Griffin. Play Rugby USA is under the umbrella of Rugby For Good, which addresses issues that impact young people around the world, from poverty, social exclusion and violence to education, health and empowering young women. "It started at the Beyond Sports conference in Chicago and I discussed the concept, that was in 2010, with a couple of other organizations from around the world and they were just like, 'Absolutely, we really need to do that, let’s make it happen,'" Griffin said. The initial launch includes 21 organizations that impact 18,000 children in 37 countries. That collective power, Griffin hopes, will lead to expansion and increased influence. "Firstly, we want to connect everybody so they can develop relationships, and from relationships can come opportunities and even partnerships," he said. It is step one in a five-step process designed to connect, advocate, develop, share and support. Griffin: "Ultimately, the primary goal is to provide better opportunities for young people across the world and how can we, by combining together, do that better than we can do on our own. And there are a lot of ways we can do that." Griffin says that despite good intentions, lack of coordination and the inability to share knowledge has made it more difficult for the far-flung groups to implement programs and find success. “When you go to events like this (Beyond Sport) it seems like everyone is operating in isolation,” he said. “But everyone shares a real passion and everyone shares those same rugby values so it seemed to me that there would be a lot of value in actually collaborating and maximizing the opportunity to develop relationships.” As part of the program’s unveiling, GRC also launched a website -- www.globalrugbycollaborative.org -- to support the initiative.