Sports Outreach Institute (SOI)

Education, Health and Well-Being
Sports Outreach Institute (SOI)

Geography: Global

Founded: 1983


106-B Tradewynd Drive
Lynchburg, VA 24502

About the Sports Outreach Institute (SOI)

The mission of SOI is to identify and train committed Christian leadership in the effective use of sports ministry, in the spreading of the Gospel message, and in alleviating human suffering.

Founded over 25 years ago with the goal of reaching the poorest communities around the world through the love and eternal hope of the Gospel of Jesus, God has grown SOI to now encompass over 100 staff members in ministry locations throughout the U.S., Latin America and Africa.

They fulfill their mission through the implementation of five major projects.  At the core of every ministry project is the goal of evangelism and discipleship.


  • Sports Ministry: Sports has proven to be one of the most effective relationship building tools for the growth of the Gospel. Involving over 2,600 players each week, this platform has been at the center of our ministry since its inception in 1987.
  • Teaching: Their commitment to academic and Christian education is lived out in all ministry projects. One on one discipleship aims at teaching adults and children how to grow in their faith and share the Gospel in their communities. SOI operates schools and preschools and provides tuition scholarships to needy, qualified primary, secondary and college age students.
  • Feeding: Thousands of children and families where SOI serves have neither reliable nor consistent sources of water or food. SOI constructs new water wells and provides daily feeding programs to help meet these critical needs. Their staff also teaches families how to farm and raise livestock to create sustainable sources of food.
  • Training: Practical job and life skill training takes place daily by SOI staff with the hope of creating sustainable income for families.  The goal is for these individuals to become empowered, contributing members within their community.
  • Public Health: Health services are provided through information, resources, and training to equip local committed leaders in alleviating all forms of suffering. Medical clinics providing physical care take place frequently throughout SOI ministry sites. Additionally, their leaders engage in regular trauma care services and counseling with a focus on young women.

The Queen of Katwe: Phiona Mutesi

Phiona Mutesi is a teenage chess prodigy from the Katwe slum of Kampala, Uganda. A poor, dirty, desperate street girl, Phiona searched out the Sports Outreach ministry site in the Katwe slum in 2005 because she was hungry. In addition to a meal she discovered her passion, skill and love for the game of chess.

The chess program was started when SOI staff member Robert Katende noticed there were dozens of children sitting on the sidelines, uninterested in soccer. He wanted to find an alternative and inexpensive sport to build their confidence, so he chose chess. Two years later he found himself running a daily chess camp and mentoring program for kids in the slums of Kampala, Uganda.