DC: What is your name, major, minor, and graduation year?
Blau: Sara Blau, Business Management Major, Sociology Minor, College Park Scholars – International Studies Track, Graduation Year: 2024.
DC: Which Dingman Center programs have you been involved with?
Blau: I was in the Pitch Dingman program and I’ve also participated in Dingman Friday’s numerous times. Additionally, I am currently enrolled in Fearless Founders’ New Venture Practicum.
DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Blau: Game Changers New York is a 501(3)c non-profit whose mission is to redistribute sports equipment to underrepresented children globally. To date, we’ve donated tens of thousands of pieces of equipment to 96 partner organizations in 15 countries. We’ve had an enormous impact on youth athletics, allowing countless numbers of children to play sports.
DC: At what point did you know you wanted to start your own venture?
Blau: I founded GCNY as a sophomore in high school. As an athlete myself, I recognized the value of having something to look forward to every day during recess, gym class, or after school. As a sophomore, I understood that many underrepresented children faced barriers to participation in sports. At that moment, my work began.
DC: Why did you decide to start a business in this industry?
Blau: From the time I founded GCNY in 2016 until now, there are no other major “players” doing the work we do in this field in New York. We are proudly running this industry in New York and will continue to do so. Game Changer’s concept is simple, yet incredibly effective in that people, programs, national sports leagues, companies, sports centers and more have had a need to donate sports equipment. This desire to donate matches perfectly with our growing global partner organization network that is constantly in need of items to support their programs.
DC: What or who is your biggest influence for your startup?
Blau: My family has been my biggest influence on my startup. Although they are not on the board of directors, or advisory board, they play an enormous factor in the success of the organization. Their guidance, love, and support since day-one has enabled me to achieve our goals.
DC: When it comes to your venture, how do you define success?
Blau: We define success when a partner organization is matched with a donor. For example, today, we facilitated a 600-volleyball donation by a large corporation that distributes games to one of our partner organizations that bridges Latino, African American, Hasidic, and residents of NYCHA housing, enabling them to build community together in Brooklyn. We are constantly working on connections and sports equipment redistributions such as this one. When the kids get to use the equipment, it is a true success.
DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Blau: My advice is to just get started. When I founded the organization, I had no idea that this is what it turned into. Every day, there are new opportunities for us at the organization, and you can’t plan for it. I encourage everyone with an idea to just start somewhere, and the rest will fall in its place.
To learn more about Game Changers New York please visit the website here.