Ethan’s predisposition toward advocacy, social enterprise, global health, and self-empowerment truly took shape in 2002, when he, with a portion of his winnings from Survivor: Africa, co-founded Grassroot Soccer (GRS). GRS is an adolescent health organization that leverages the power of soccer to equip young people with the life-saving information, services, and mentorship they need to live healthier lives. GRS empowers young people to make educated choices about their most pressing and interconnected health challenges, including HIV/AIDS, mental health, sexual and reproductive health and rights, COVID-19, gender-based violence, and malaria.
It was the realization of an idea that first came to light while playing soccer professionally in Zimbabwe, where he first came face- to-face with the toll and scale of the AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa. Since inception, the international organization has scaled up to 60 countries in Africa and worldwide, graduated 13 millions youth, and worked with scores of public- and private-sector partners. Ever the tireless and creative promoter, Ethan in 2008 did nothing short of dribble a soccer ball 600 miles on his own — Boston to Washington, DC — as a campaign to drum up visibility, awareness, and support.
Ethan’s work with Grassroot Soccer and in the field of public health earned him a place on US Soccer Foundation’s Most impactful People list and BeyondSport named Ethan to their 50 Most Influential People—a list which includes Michelle Obama, Desmond Tutu, David Beckham, Muhammad Ali, and Billie Jean King.