Roy D. Kessel


Roy Kessel is the Founder of Sports Philanthropy Network, an initiative to educate, highlight, and connect sports-centric nonprofits to cultivate stronger, healthier, and more inclusive communities via sports.

Roy envisions a united front of sports nonprofits, athlete foundations, teams, leagues, and other governing bodies, converging with a singular goal: to leverage sports as a catalyst for social good, justice, and change.

With over a quarter-century in the sports business and entrepreneurial sector, Roy’s multifaceted experience uniquely positions him to cater to the nuanced needs of nonprofits, athletes, and sports enterprises during their growth trajectories.

Roy’s dedication is evident in his collaboration with numerous nonprofit organizations. He mentors them on capacity building, offers education, leads board training, provides event management insights, and aids in fundraising strategies.

As a sought-after voice in the industry, Roy frequently shares his expertise on sports philanthropy, business, social justice, and entrepreneurship. Some of his recent appearances include: 



A proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Roy majored in both finance and marketing. His college years saw him actively involved in various campus organizations and spirited participation in intramural sports leagues, with a few victories to his name.

Roy’s academic journey continued at Northwestern School of Law, where he served as the Note and Comment Editor for the Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business.

The initial seven years of Roy’s legal career were spent in boutique law firms, after which he took a leap of faith in 1997, establishing his own practice. This move was driven by a passion for representing athletes and budding entrepreneurs. In 2001, he secured certification from the National Football League Players Association, enabling him to represent NFL players.

Roy’s leadership in the field became evident as he co-chaired the Chicago Bar Association Sports Law Committee for many years, creating a robust schedule of sports law speakers and developing seminars dedicated to contemporary sports law subjects.

His passion for education found an outlet at Northwestern University’s graduate Sports Management Program (MSA). Here, Roy not only taught as an adjunct professor but also made significant contributions as a member of the Admissions Committee and even as the Program Director. Esteemed institutions like Northwestern, Marquette, and Florida Coastal School of Law, among others, have invited him to speak to their students and broader communities.

In 2011, Roy took a pivotal step in addressing the urgent concussion crisis by founding Sports Brain. This initiative focused on educating communities, schools, and sports leagues about concussion risks. Sports Brain has been instrumental in rolling out concussion management programs across high schools, youth sports bodies, and several colleges.

Roy’s expansive knowledge makes him a coveted speaker on an array of topics: from sports philanthropy, sports law, and Jewish sports to youth sports, entrepreneurship, leadership, social justice, prison reform, and beyond. For a deeper dive into his speaking engagements, visit the Roy Kessel Speaker Page.


Sports Philanthropy Network:

Roy Kessel website: