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And Now for Something Completely Different: Basketball in India

Posted by Shankar Sundar, Edmo Gamelin, Sarah Caton, and Alejandro Zuniga on June 5th, 2020.

It may come as no surprise that most of the charitable work Blue Matter does is in some way related to healthcare. Our focus as a company is, after all, on the life sciences.  However, sometimes we like to put our consulting skills to use outside of the healthcare space, in areas that speak to us in different ways.  Today, we would like to tell you about an initiative outside of healthcare: Our support for the Hi5 Youth Foundation.

The Hi5 Youth Foundation and Hope Thru Hoops Program

The Hi5 Youth Foundation is a “non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities to underprivileged children in India through sport.” Through their year-round basketball excellence program, Hope Thru Hoops, children throughout India are taught skills related to basketball through structured coaching and competition.

The true focus of Hope Thru Hoops, however, may not be obvious at first glance.  While the outward intent of the program is to teach children how to play competitive basketball, the spirit of the program is to inculcate its participants with skills to succeed in life.  As trainees progress through the program, their learnings follow an intentional progression:

  • Level 1 – Beginner: Self-respect, self-confidence, motivation, work ethic
  • Level 2 – Intermediate: Teamwork, camaraderie, respect for others, gender equality
  • Level 3 – Advanced: Strategy, decision-making

Statistics show that this training is not only impactful on the court, but also translates to the classroom. On the court, Hope Thru Hoops teams have earned 71 podium finishes in 26 tournaments.  Four members were even selected for the Junior NBA!  The impact on academics is equally impressive.  As an example, nearly 100% of enrollees graduate from high school compared to a 72% national average, and 95% of those graduates enroll in college compared to an 82% national average.

Blue Matter Support

The Hi5 Youth Foundation is financed by generous donors around the world.  However, the most recent focus has been on increasing fundraising efforts in the US. Our team was brought on to help refine their US donor plan, which we happily agreed to do pro bono.

We began by interviewing established donors and members of the board to understand key motivators for getting involved with Hi5.  Do they value Hi5’s dedication to empowering young women? The organization’s focus on underserved communities? Passion for basketball? Are there other, less obvious drivers?

In parallel, we explored similar nonprofit organizations to characterize best practices for expanding donor bases. Our work led us to a few key recommendations and activities, including:

  • Refining the Hope Thru Hoops “Value Proposition”: We summarized the key Hi5 values that encouraged existing donors and board members to get involved. These included:
    • Personal connection to the communities supported by Hi5
    • Passion about educational opportunities for underserved communities
    • Passion about gender equality and female empowerment
    • History playing / following basketball or other sports
  • Creating a New “Pitch Deck”: We created a pitch document incorporating these values for the Foundation to use when presenting the Hope Thru Hoops program to potential donors.
  • Streamlining Key Marketing Materials: We updated core marketing collateral and suggested how to pull these updates through to digital platforms to ensure targeted and consistent messaging.

As you can see, Hi5’s challenge was similar to that which many of our clients face each day. They already had a great “product,” they simply needed a clearer articulation of their “value proposition” and guidance on how to present that value proposition to target “customers” (in this case, donors). We’re proud that we were able to use our consulting skills to help such an incredible organization expand their already profound impact.

If you would like to learn more about the Hope Thru Hoops program or get involved in any way, you can find more information on their website.  In addition, Hi5 has established a COVID19 Emergency Relief Fund to help the most needy families in Mumbai deal with the additional hardships brought on by the pandemic.  Learn more here: