May 20th, 2013 | No Comments
KAEO The Details:
Name: Pass It Forward LLC
Founded: April 2013
Founder: Brian Rilko, Christina Sussman
Concept: Pay it forward: Buy a soccer ball, and one is donated to a child or an organization in need.
Email: Email Pass It Forward
Paying it forward. It’s a concept we are often taught from a young age about helping others before yourself and doing good even if there’s no immediate personal reward. It’s with this mantra in mind that a new soccer ball company called Pass It Forward emerged from a somewhat random airplane conversation.
Pass It Forward LLC is a very easy-to-understand company. For every soccer ball purchased, a second soccer ball will be donated to a community or organization in need. These communities including foreign and domestic locations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Pomona (CA), Haiti, Namibia and Rwanda. A note is included in every purchase indicating exactly where the soccer ball is being donated. Once a location has received enough donations, a representative from Pass It Forward will make a “Ball Drop” to the organization. Ball Drops are anywhere from as many as 100+ soccer balls to as few as 2-3 soccer balls. In the first month of operation, Pass It Forward has already donated over 300 soccer balls to communities worldwide.
The idea for Pass It Forward came about from a conversation between strangers on an airplane. Brian Rilko is an avid soccer athlete with experience both as a player and a coach. Christina Sussman teaches Drama and Special Education at a school in Germany. During their flight, they realized they shared a passion for helping others and realized that they could positively impact communities through soccer.
Brian explained that “soccer is a universal language” and that it can be used to teach many life lessons both on and off the pitch. Many of the communities either have old, dilapidated, soccer balls or no soccer balls at all. Included in the slideshow below is a picture from Zambia of trash bags banded together to form a deformed soccer ball.
The competitive price-point for the soccer balls makes it easy for consumers to get involved. The balls are all hand stitched and laminated with four layers of polyester viscose. Pass It Forward’s soccer balls are produced in an environmentally friendly factor without harmful chemicals or lead and are match-play quality.
A month into the new company and Brian and Christina have already learned a lot. Brian spoke of a sense of personal pride that goes into this project. He noted that awareness and a small marketing budget are two of the company’s biggest hurdles. Brian also said that he’s come to realized that some people will never understand Pass It Forward’s business model since revenue is not being maximized because of the donations.
“There’s a real sense of accomplishment that isn’t understood simply by looking at the business plan,” Brian said.