Football, Business and Media Communities Unite in London to Support HIV & AIDS Prevention at Grassroot Soccer World AIDS Day Gala

On 1 December supporters from the realms of football, business, and the media attended the Grassroot Soccer charity gala at London’s Savoy Hotel. Hosted by well-known television presenter and journalist Jake Humphrey, the event raised over £267,000 for HIV and AIDS prevention among youth in Africa.

Park Ji-Sun and Kim Min Ji

International football star Park Ji-Sun and wife Kim Min Ji.

oguchi onyewu wad gala 2014

Football star and GRS Pro Ambassador Oguchi Onyewu.






The event’s 200 guests were treated to performances by 3-time world champion freestyle footballer Andrew Henderson, the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Quartet, and the London Community Gospel Choir. They had the opportunity to bid on exclusive and unique prizes in both live and silent auctions, including opportunities to mix it up on the pitch and talk football with the likes of Grassroot Soccer Pro Ambassadors Robert Pirès, Fredrik Ljungberg, and Bacary Sagna, or go behind the scenes at Channel 4 News with Jon Snow. A special highlight of the auction was a Nelson Mandela hand-signed lithograph titled “The Window.” The print was particularly meaningful as the world marks the one-year anniversary of “Madiba’s” passing.

Guests at WAD Gala

Gala committee member Gordon Singer (kneeling front left) and friends take part in the GRS #iamafootballer campaign.

Notable gala attendees included footballers Kieran Gibbs, Park Ji-sung, and Oguchi Onyewu, British no. 2 tennis player James Ward, tennis legend Boris Becker, television presenters Davina McCall Robertson and Jon Snow, and Helen Grant MP.

Jake Humphrey

Evening host, broadcaster Jake Humphrey.

Guests were also able to participate in Grassroot Soccer’s #iamafootballer campaign, by sharing messages of hope, determination, and social impact that apply equally to the beautiful game and the fight against AIDS.

Jon Snow

Broadcaster Jon Snow with a ragball made in Khayelitsha, South Africa by GRS Coaches through Ragball International.

Davina McCall and Matt Robertson

Television presenter Davina McCall and husband Matthew Robertson show their support for World AIDS Day.

Grassroot Soccer would like to extend our thanks to the many individuals and organisations who donated so generously to the auction and to L’Oreal for the wonderful gifts donated to all our guests. We would also like to thank our partner Ragball International for the colorful table gifts, auctioneer Hugh Edmeades, and all the evening’s presenters.

Tommy Clark and Kieran Gibbs

GRS Founder and CEO Dr. Tommy Clark and Arsenal FC star Kieran Gibbs.

All proceeds from the evening benefitted Grassroot Soccer’s work using the power of football to educate, inspire and empower young people to stop the spread of HIV. Founded by four professional football players, Grassroot Soccer is mobilising the most vulnerable population of youth, ages 12-19, to break the cycle of AIDS by engaging local Coaches who equip young people with the knowledge, skills and support they need to avoid HIV. Grassroot Soccer has a global reach, with flagship sites in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and trains thousands of Coaches in more than 40 countries to provide valuable education and support to more than 700,000 young people.

Andrew Henderson

Freestyle football champion Andrew Henderson gives an exciting performance.

Tope Lawani and Baba Soyoye

Table hosts Tope Lawani (left) and Babatunde Soyoye (third from right), both of Helios Investments, and friends.


Grassroot Soccer Zambia Wins Charity of the Year Award

Open Zambia AwardsRecently GRS Zambia was named the Charity of the Year in the inaugural Greatest Zambian Awards! The Awards, an initiative spearheaded by news website Open Zambia and the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), asked the public to vote on a shortlist for each of the ten categories.

“It is gratifying and rewarding to be the recipient of the Charity of the Year award in Zambia. This recognition is a true reflection of our commitment and dedication to serving youths and adolescents in Zambia through our work. This award has rejuvenated our resolve to continue serving the young population of our country with much needed access to HIV and AIDS prevention, care ,treatment and support,” said Nalucha Nganga-Ziba, GRS Zambia Managing Director. 

GRS Zambia was launched in 2005 as the second official GRS affiliate, and has been a leader in comprehensive HIV prevention, including piloting successful referral and support programs for HIV positive youth that are now integral parts of GRS programming.

You can see a full list of winners here.


GRS NYC Marathon Team Empowers 13,200 Girls

On Nov. 2nd, 41 passionate Team GRS runners participated in the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. They ran an epic, cold and windy 26.2 miles through the streets of New York — with smiles on their faces. GRS is incredibly grateful to the wonderful team members who donated their sweat, fortitude, and positivity to our cause.

Our goal for the 2014 NYC Marathon was to engage 6,000 African girls in a unique program that educates and empowers them to live healthy lives, access critical health services, combat gender-based violence, stop the spread of HIV in their communities, and gain self esteem through playing soccer. We are thrilled to share that we more than doubled our goal, and will be able to engage 13,200 girls!

To date, the 2014 GRS NYC Marathon Team has raised over $660,000. Grassroot Soccer was one of the top fundraising charity partners for the TCS New York City Marathon, and Founder & CEO Tommy Clark was the top individual fundraiser on the marathon’s official charity fundraising site, CrowdRise. Additionally, one of our runners, GRS Ambassadors Council member Josh Elkes, was featured in a blog post from our funding partner Positive Tracks. Positive Tracks generously matched the funds raised by three young people on Team GRS, including Josh. This was also a special year for Team GRS as two of our founders, Tommy Clark and Kirk Friedrich, ran the race for GRS, along with several staff members. We also had a great combination of returning team members and new members of the GRS family. Special thanks also go to Puma, who outfitted the team in wonderful gear.

Thank you to everyone who supported this true team effort!

Roger Levesque NYC marathon

GRS Team member and former Seattle Sounders star Roger Levesque (in yellow) on his way to a smoking fast time.

Josh Elkes NYC Marathon 2014

Team GRS runner and GRS Ambassadors Council member Josh Elkes shows off his GRS pride with his finisher's medal.

Sarah Moran NYC marathon

Staff members like GRS Business Analyst Sarah Moran got in on the fun too.

Rusty Trump at expo

Rusty Trump, who has run multiple races for GRS, gets ready to go at the expo.