Bay Area Womens Sports Initiative

Bay Area Womens Sports Initiative LogoBay Area Womens Sports Initiative (BAWSI) provides powerful interventions for the most vulnerable children in our communities in the form of ACCESS©. Our programs focus on proven factors that help increase resiliency in children living with adversity.

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When the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), the professional league created in the afterglow of the 1999 Women’s World Cup, folded in 2003, U.S. women’s soccer team stars Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy longed to maintain the deep community connections that were the league’s hallmark. The two stars joined with Marlene Bjornsrud, former general manager of the WUSA’s champion San Jose CyberRays, along with a group of community and sports leaders to begin work on the concept for BAWSI (pronounced “bossy”).

The Bay Area Womens Sports Initiative founders wanted to harness the power of female athletes to impact society and give them an opportunity to connect through authentic, intentional service. With its first initiative, BAWSI aimed to do this by providing opportunities to serve young girls who weren’t being exposed to organized sports, or physical education classes, and to reach girls in communities where obesity and diabetes were prevalent.

In May of 2005, BAWSI was born as a 501c3 non-profit organization. Disappointment drove BAWSI’s founding, but a defining sense of purpose and service made it flourish into an international example of service and sport.