Drafted by the Boston Cannons as the ninth pick in the 2013 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft, Scott Ratliff currently plays for the new Archers Lacrosse Club of the Premier Lacrosse League, whose inaugural season kicks off June 1, 2019. A native of Atlanta, Ratliff spent four years at Loyola University Maryland where his team won the Division I Men’s Lacrosse National Championship in 2012.
Here are Scott’s answers to The Sport of Philanthropy’s top 10 questions about his philanthropic work:
What’s your motivation for giving back?
My motivation for giving back comes from my desire to make a positive impact on the world. I feel that I have been blessed in life in large part thanks to the lessons and values that I learned not just from sports, but also from the coaches and the teammates that I came to know through sports. I believe that the path to true fulfillment in my own life is through sharing these gifts with others.
What issue is most important to you and why?
I am extremely passionate about education, and specifically education around emotional intelligence and developing mental toughness through adversity. I have come to learn that challenging situations and circumstances are a constant in life, no matter what you do or how successful you might be. Not enough people are equipped with education around how to interact with their emotions and remain resilient and optimistic while facing these challenges. I believe that I received this education through sports.
Sports are a safe environment to learn how to fail and try again, to learn how to deal with loss in emotionally elevated circumstances and to learn how to communicate through differences with teammates and coaches who aren’t always like you. My mission is to not only help more people have access to sports, but also to understand the power and value of sports when viewed through this lens.
Can you explain what the Give & Go Foundation is and why it was created?
The Give & Go Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission of empowering underserved lacrosse communities worldwide. We do this by providing resources to existing lacrosse organizations with like-minded values to continue to grow the sport and provide more opportunities for people to access it.
My teammate Adam Ghitelman and I created The Give & Go Foundation because we understood the value that lacrosse has had in our lives. We both feel a deep desire to give back to the world and we believed that helping more people access this unique sport and community would be a terrific place to start.
While the Give & Go Foundation is about growing the game of lacrosse, what’s most important to us is sharing the values of discipline, love, creativity and community that are rooted deeply in the culture of the sport.
Can you share a particular success story about a person you've helped through the Give & Go Foundation?
One of the first people we impacted was a player named Arthur Millan from Brussels, Belgium. Arthur attended a free Give & Go Foundation clinic and was so inspired he began working everyday with the goal of making the Belgium National Team. He accomplished his goal and made the team.
However, at the same time his stepfather grew sick with cancer and he nor his family could afford to send him to Israel to compete with the National Team in the World Games. Arthur reached back out to us and we tapped into the lacrosse community to raise the funds to send him to the world games. He won defensive MVP of his team and had an amazing experience.
Fast forward another year and Arthur reached back out again. As a result of the impact lacrosse and the lacrosse community had on his life, he has set out on his own mission to start the first collegiate lacrosse teams (boys and girls) at his university in Brussels. Give & Go is now supporting Arthur’s leadership to collect the resources to make this dream a reality. In September of this year, those dreams will become reality and Arthur will continue to carry the torch of growing the game and its values.
What philanthropic accomplishment are you most proud of?
Outside of creating the Give & Go Foundation, I am extremely proud of being selected as the Dave Huntley Man of the Year in professional lacrosse in 2018. Dave Huntley was a coach of mine and a huge inspiration and teacher of understanding the true value in sports. To be recognized with an award in his honor was extremely meaningful to me.
How have you seen the Give & Go Foundation positively impact participants and the communities it serves?
One of the biggest success stories has been to see the positive impact our clinics and programs make on participants beyond just the lacrosse field. We have heard hundreds of stories of participants making positive changes to their lifestyles and making a commitment to give back to others after being involved with The Give & Go Foundation and the sport of lacrosse.
What longer term goals do you have for the Give & Go Foundation?
Our long term goals are to continue to grow in our capacity to not only provide resources for underserved programs and communities but also to facilitate opportunities for more American coaches and players to experience the joy of traveling and sharing this game in an underserved community. We believe the Give & Go experience provides equal value to the coaches who travel and give back as it does to the communities we serve.
Who else in the sports world do you see as inspirational in their philanthropic work and why?
I have always viewed LeBron James as a massive inspiration. To me, LeBron is one of the first athletes of his stature to put philanthropy above all else. He showed the world a different type of sports icon, using his platform to empower others, and not valuing his own personal success over the impact he can make on his community.
What advice would you give other athletes and influential sports figures seeking to use their platforms to create positive social impact and better the world?
The best piece of advice I have is to GO FOR IT. Taking on a mission of service can be intimidating from an operational and execution standpoint. I would remind them that the same work ethic and vision that allowed them to reach the pinnacle of their sport can be channeled into learning how to use their platform to make a meaningful impact on the world. For me, my career as a pro lacrosse player has become far more fulfilling as I have tapped into my “ why” and my “how” to use this platform to serve others.
How can people learn more about The Give & Go Foundation?
People can learn more about the Give & Go Foundation and its founders on our website and social media: