PODCAST: S2:EP38–Melissa Harper, Good Sports

Join us for S2:EP38 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Melissa Harper, CEO and Co-Founder of Good Sports, sits down with our host, Roy Kessel, to discuss how Good Sports helps put sports equipment in the hands of young athletes.

Melissa Harper has been the Chief Executive Officer of Good Sports, Inc. since it was founded in 2003.  During that time Good Sports has grown from distributing equipment to impact 2,500 kids to supporting millions of kids today.  In addition to roles in nonprofit fundraising and consulting, she also spent nearly 5 years in the management consulting business with Gemini Consulting and Treacy & Company. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Melissa is also a lifelong athlete participating in road races and marathons as well as playing and coaching sports for her four children.

Good Sports mission is to give all kids the lifelong benefits of sport and physical activity by providing equipment, apparel and footwear to those most in need.

Good Sports creates opportunities in sports and physical activity for kids through donations of brand new sports equipment, apparel, and footwear.

Their goal is to help youth-serving programs:
  • Increase the total amount of youth participants
  • Enhance the experience for all young people involved
  • Create new opportunities in physical activity for the kids they serve

The benefits of sports and physical activity in a child’s life are well documented. Good Sports exists to make sure cost doesn’t keep kids on the bench.

The world of youth sports has split into two groups: the “haves” and the “have nots.” While some families have the ability to afford sports gear, leagues, and travel costs – many do not. Consequently, their kids are left behind on the sidelines.

We know that kids who play do better. By supplying youth organizations with the gear they need, overhead costs are cut and more resources become available, helping children stay connected to their communities.

Good Sports works directly with the sporting goods industry to obtain a variety of athletic gear, apparel and footwear.

From their 40,000 square foot warehouse, they are able to store brand new equipment and then distribute it to programs all over the country.

Organizations are given visibility into our merchandise inventory so they may request the exact gear to fit a need. Then we will coordinate shipping as soon as possible so that all equipment finds a home right away!

Melissa Harper joins our host Roy Kessel on S2:EP38 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast


  • 00:30 Background and Education
  • 03:00 Launching Good Sports and first donation
  • 07:30 Total need for sports equipment in USA
  • 10:00 Criteria for which organizations to support
  • 14:00 Application and approval process
  • 16:30 Maximizing the impact
  • 20:30 Decline in play
  • 23:00 Kids stopping sports
  • 27:00 Education doing better than sports at creating different models for service delivery
  • 32:00 Getting equipment to Good Sports
  • 39:00 COVID-19 Impact: Intolerance for sharing equipment
  • 40:30 Melissa as Commissioner of MLB
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.
Sports Philanthropy Network

Featured Posts

Recent Posts

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email