PODCAST: S2:EP42–Erin Kennedy, Girls Rugby

Join us for S2:EP42 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Erin Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Girls Rugby, sits down with our host, Roy Kessel, to discuss the difference that sports can make in a young woman’s life and why she believes that every girl needs an opportunity to play.

Erin Kennedy has worked in sports administration for over 11 years, focusing most of that in rugby development and administration. She is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Girls Rugby and is currently the Regional Development Manager for Rugby Americas North. Kennedy brings experience from her time with USA Rugby and Rugby Canada, developing and managing mass participation programs such as Rookie Rugby.

Kennedy has also worked for the North American Caribbean Rugby Association, developing youth rugby and women’s rugby programs in the Caribbean and Mexico. She went on to coordinate programs for the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland, focusing on the Youth Olympic Games. Kennedy is also a World Rugby Educator, has played for multiple teams in the U.S. and abroad, as well as coached at the youth, high school, and adult club levels. She holds a Master’s degree in Sport and Performance Psychology, is a USA Rugby certified coach, and is a passionate advocate for the growth of youth and women’s rugby in North America. She is also the author of The Value of Rugby, a children’s book aimed at teaching the core values of rugby.

Girls Rugby provides access for girls to learn important skills and core values such as leadership, empowerment, achievement, respect and sportspersonship all while enjoying the experience of playing all-girls, non-contact rugby. Girls Rugby embodies the philosophy of developing young girls through sport and understands the positive benefits that participation in team sports has on their lives.

Erin Kennedy joins our host Roy Kessel on S2:EP42 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast


  • 00:30 Background
  • 03:30 Her career in sports (spoiler: Did not include rugby!)
  • 05:30 What attracted her to rugby
  • 09:00 Close-knit nature of rugby community
  • 10:30 Launch of Girls Rugby
  • 16:30 Pilot programs in first year
  • 17:30 Programs in Denver, San Diego, Portland
  • 18:30 Parent satisfaction surveys
  • 21:00 Complementary nature of co-founders
  • 24:30 Challenges in growing new nonprofit
  • 30:30 Inquiries for markets that want growth
  • 34:00 Goals and growth for next 3 years
  • 37:00 How listeners can help Girls Rugby
  • 39:30 Erin as Commissioner of Rugby!


Kelsey Donnolo

Kelsey Donnolo

Sports Philanthropy Network

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