• Press Release - December 15, 2014

    Mississippi-Million man raises US$1 million for Right To Play kids

    UNITED KINGDOM (December 15, 2014)  Former Olympic medalist and chairman for Right To Play United Kingdom's board of directors John Pritchard has raised over US$1,000,000 for the children's charity by rowing the Mississippi River.

    In just 86 days, John Pritchard rowed 2,340 miles across 10 American states in a Victorian skiff with a handful of boat mates—including Johann Olav Koss, Right To Play's founder, president and CEO—all because he has witnessed and believes in the transformative power of play.

    "I am very proud to call John a longtime friend of Right To Play. His dedication and contributions to our organization are tremendous," says Koss. "He never gave up. Not only did John fulfil his goal to row the entire Mississippi River, he also raised the one million dollars. I am so inspired with John's strength and willpower and his unwavering belief in the work that we do. I cannot thank him enough."  

    All of the proceeds from John Pritchard's Mississippi Million Challenge will go to the one million children in Right To Play's education, health and peace, game-based programs.

    Right To Play uses games, activities and sports to initiate important life lessons and develop skills like cooperation, leadership and teamwork. Specially-trained Coaches engage the children through play, teaching them to protect themselves from disease, encourage them to attend and stay in school and to resolve conflict peacefully. The charity's programs promote the involvement of all boys and girls, inclusive of those with disabilities, affected by HIV and AIDs, street children, refugees, former combatants and more. Their programs reinforce new behaviours that create sustainable change, complete with results in improved academic performance, increased participation and attendance in schools, reduced violence, heightened awareness and steps taken to prevent disease.

    "As I made my way down the Mississippi, through endless days of wind, rain, commercial traffic and flying, biting insects, my overwhelming concern was whether we would make it to the $1,000,000 mark," says Pritchard. "It seemed as insurmountable as the distance I was facing. The staggering tide of goodwill and support that the Mississippi project has engendered, from hundreds of ordinary people around the world, has achieved that insurmountable target. In doing so we have raised vital funding to support tens of thousands of children. Every extra dollar we raise now will exponentially increase our ability to fund the programmes and every single donor should swell with pride at what they, not I, have achieved."

    Further information about the Mississippi Million challenge: www.mississippimillion.com

    For further information about Right To Play contact:

    Carin Zaleski, Director of External Affairs - Right To Play USA
    Phone: 646.649.8288​

    About Right To Play

    Right To Play is the leading international humanitarian and development organization using sport and play as tools to effect behaviour and social change. Our trained Coaches and community leaders implement our programs which are designed to develop basic life skills, prevent diseases, teach conflict resolution and instil hope in children affected by war, poverty and disease. Right To Play implements programs in 20 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. A pioneer in its field, Right To Play sets standards for quality sustainable programming, promotes best practices and advances research on the efficacy of sport-based development efforts. Founded in 2000 by Johann Olav Koss, four-time Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur, Right To Play fosters the hope and skills that are essential to envisioning and realizing a better future.