PODCAST: S2:EP13 Bethany Henderson, America Scores

Bethany Henderson joins our host Roy Kessel on S2:EP13 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast

Bethany Henderson, Executive Director of DC Scores and America Scores joins our host Roy Kessel on S2:EP13 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast. Bethany shares how her legal background and her nonprofit experience have guided her efforts to develop and expand America Scores.

America SCORES inspires urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world.

America SCORES students—85 percent of whom live below the poverty line—improve academically, increase physical fitness, and have a greater sense of confidence and belonging.

America SCORES serves over 13,000 students at 311 public and charter schools in 12 major cities.

  • 88% Students reporting higher self-confidence, saying that “America SCORES makes me feel good about myself.”
  • 80% Increase in classroom participation, according to teacher surveys, leading to a 77% improvement in academic performance.
  • 55% Students starting SCORES in an “unhealthy” BMI category who ended the year in the “normal/healthy” category.

Bethany is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur; Echoing Green Fellow; and recent White House Fellow, took the helm of DC SCORES in 2014. Since 2017, she also has served as President of the America SCORES network. During Bethany’s tenure, DC SCORES has won multiple awards for being the best-run nonprofit in the DC-MD-VA region, and Bethany has been recognized as a Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year by both the Washington Business Journal and Center for Nonprofit Advancement.

Bethany’s career has spanned the social, for-profit, and government sectors. While in the White House, Bethany coordinated the 2013 Youth Jobs+ initiative and participated in developing My Brother’s Keeper, a public-private partnership focused on helping boys and young men of color get and stay on track cradle to career. In 2008, Bethany founded City Hall Fellows, an award-winning, nonpartisan, post-college local government service corps, raising more than $4M to launch and build the organization during the recession. City Hall Fellows uses service-learning principles to prepare young people to take active civic leadership roles in their own hometowns. 

Previously, Bethany was a trial attorney at international litigation firm Quinn Emanuel, where she won an award from the California State Bar Association for her pro bono work helping special needs low-income students obtain the education to which the law entitles them. She also helped build out the Center for Social Entrepreneurship at George Mason University. Bethany earned her JD at Harvard Law School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned both an MA and BA in Political Science.

Bethany Henderson joins our host Roy Kessel on S2:EP13 on the Sports Philanthropy Podcast


  • 00:30 Background and education
  • 04:00 Move into the training space
  • 07:00 Board challenges
  • 12:00 Grassroots efforts by the network, for the network
  • 14:00 Importance of storytelling
  • 19:00 Best sizes for Board of Directors
  • 21::00 Grantwriting challenges
  • 25:00 Biggest challenges in growing organization
  • 32:00 Key elements of telling stories
  • 36:00 Biggest goals in the next three years

For more information, visit their websites at www.americascores.org and www.dcscores.org.

Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel is the Founder of the Sports Philanthropy Network. Roy has worked in the sports business world for over 20 years including serving as an instructor in Northwestern University's graduate Sports Management Program. Having served as a sports lawyer representing athletes, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, Roy has extensive experience helping organizations improve their strategy, marketing, communications and leadership development.
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