The world of sport is full of leaders. It’s these individuals that emerge at times of need and make a difference.
Leaders don’t have to be players, coaches or members of the front office. All they have to possess is passion, creativity, and determination. And the path to becoming a leader isn’t always the clearest.
For Drew Boe, he had no idea that a project during his final semester of graduate school at Virginia Tech and a mission trip to Rwanda, would transform into his life’s work.
Boe’s project consisted of developing the framework for a non-profit organization that connected the resources of the sports industry with orphanages that he had visited in Africa. This includes clothing, sunglasses, hats or any other item that can benefit those in need.
It was his experience as a student manager at the University of Minnesota and as an equipment manager at Virginia Tech, that helped Boe witness first-hand the abundance of gear that organizations have at their disposal. It became clear to Boe that the sports industry could make a life changing impact at these orphanages in Africa.
And with that knowledge, Boe started the non-profit organization Managers on a Mission.
Managers on a Mission sends aspiring sports leaders to struggling villages to lead three-week sports camps and hand delivers donated gear from athletic programs and organizations.
“I just felt like we could take advantage of that large amount of gear and maximize its impact on others,” Boe said. “Equipment directors and coaches were so willing to support the cause through the excess gear. More importantly, I knew these items could have an impact far beyond what we typically imagine.”
After working on the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals equipment staffs, Boe accepted a position at Auburn in the same department. And while Boe initially launched Managers on a Mission to be an on the side type of gig, it quickly became clear to him that it was something that required a full-time effort.
In order to boost participation and awareness, Boe created the “Clean out for a Cause” campaign, which urged equipment directors to contribute to Managers on a Mission. With initial support from coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and his extensive network of equipment managers, Boe sent out an email blast and received immediate responses from managers at Oregon, Texas and North Carolina.
“It was crazy,” Boe said. “There was no reason that we should have heard back from them but they followed up and were willing to help out, from there Managers on a Mission just continued to grow.”
Since 2013 Managers on a Mission has received gear from over 80 collegiate athletic programs and more than 20 professional organizations. By listing and selling donated items on its own eBay site for charity, Managers on a Mission is able to collect 100 percent and put it towards funding missions and scholarships programs.
A major reason for Boe’s success is his familiarity with how various sports organizations operate.
“I felt confident that my knowledge of how the equipment department operates would allow me to make it easy on equipment managers, coaches, and players to donate gear,” Boe said. “We send them a box and pay for shipping, all they have to do is tape it up and drop it off.”