A year ago, Scottsdale teen Wade Crum founded his nonprofit, Pass It On, as a way to donate new and gently used sports equipment to youth in need.
Since then, the nonprofit collected more than 6,000 donated items – and more than 1,000 were recently given to Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley (BGCEV) at its annual Day for Kids event on Sept. 14 at the Grant Woods Branch in Mesa.
“They felt really amazed and happy, and they enjoyed the event,” Wade said. “They wanted the equipment and it was really meaningful. There were a lot of smiling faces going around.”
Pass It On chose the club because it needed the equipment.
They met earlier with Sam Fowler, vice president of development & strategy at the East Valley club, “he introduced us to their branch and how many kids were in need,” said the 14-year-old Saguaro High School freshman and soccer player for Phoenix-based SC del Sol soccer club.
“They told us some really moving stories about the kids and so we definitely wanted to go where they could use us the most,” Wade’s mother Sara Crum said.
Pass It On also gave the East Valley kids their own soccer balls and water bottles.
The donated sports clothing and equipment assist the East Valley club’s Soccer for Success program, including its soccer drills and games.
Pass It On collects items both at donation drives held throughout the year, as well as from donation bins located at soccer stores throughout the Valley, including Soccer Post Arrowhead in Peoria.
The nonprofit will soon have a donation bin at Soccer Mall in Phoenix.
The group’s goal is to not only increase the number of donation bins at stores, but Wade is also gearing up to present to the City of Scottsdale his idea of placing a donation bin at Scottsdale Sports Complex.
“We’re trying to have an outdoor donation bin so it’s easier for parents to drop off their clothing when they go to soccer practice, so they don’t have to contact us, go run over to a store that’s halfway across the Valley,” Wade said. “It’s really important to make it convenient to parents.”
Wade added he hopes the city approves the outdoor bins because “helping kids is important.”
Plus, he said, “It’s a lot better on the environment when you reuse and work on zero waste.”
The costs associated with these outdoor donation bins are covered by a $25,000 grant Pass It On received from Fiesta Bowl Charities in July.
Pass It On was one of 40 Arizona nonprofits granted during the 2019-20 Fiesta Bowl Charities grant cycle, which they gave a total of $3 million.
“We were inspired by the initiative and drive of Wade and his values clearly reflect through Pass It On,” said Fiesta Bowl spokeswoman Kristina Chumpol. “The Fiesta Bowl aims to enhance organizations that contribute to their communities through youth, sports and education. Pass It On aligns with our values and we are proud to aid in its mission.”
Wade will use the grant money to expand operations and reach even more kids.
More specifically, the money will pay for tents and tables needed during donation drives and for Pass it On-branded equipment, including soccer balls and water bottles, among other costs.
“We were excited and happy and we just couldn’t believe it,” Wade said of the grant.
His mother added, “And we’re very, very grateful because we know how many kids we can help with that money.”
So far, Pass It On has donated to six entities, including Phoenix Rising and North Phoenix Christian Soccer Club.
“[North Phoenix Christian Soccer Club players] were able to play in their championships games with Pass It On donated cleats, and they were able to score goals using them, and it was just really, really meaningful,” Wade said.
Pass It On has also donated to one foster family and La Paz Youth Soccer Association in Parker.
They made a donation of approximately 1,500 items to the latter on June 29.
Wade and his mother attribute the success of Pass It On to the support they’ve received from the community and said support is helping the nonprofit expand its reach.
For example, the Arizona Soccer Association sent Pass It On flyers to every one of its teams, including all of the kids and their families.
“I’m amazed, overwhelmed with people’s generosity and interest and support,” Sara said. “We definitely had no idea when we first did this. We were happy we were able to collect stuff and donate it. We were happy with the first 500 pieces of equipment we had. We thought that might be the farthest we could get. We kept doing it and it kept working and we got this far.”
Ahead, Pass It On will host another donation drive in the late fall or early winter. The nonprofit will also host a donation event for North Phoenix Christian Soccer Club, likely in November.
Wade’s future goal for Pass It On is to expand it to other families and, hopefully, other cities.
“One goal we have is to create some sort of manual or step-by-step instruction of how I created Pass It On, and we can send it out to other people so they can do a similar thing. They can create their own organization to help other different areas,” he said.