Robert Castañeda is the co-founder and executive director of Beyond the Ball, a nonprofit that uses the power of sport to reclaim space, unite the community, and create a culture of opportunity through which the organization cultivates hope and changes lives.
Based in the Little Village neighborhood, Beyond the Ball is innovative in that it not only develops youth through sport and play, but also develops the community. Building on the values taught in their programs, Beyond the Ball has helped neighborhood residents challenge the culture of gang violence in Little Village. The organization was honored with the “Most Courageous Use of Sport” Award at the 2010 Beyond Sport Summit, chosen among over 400 entries from over 120 countries around the world.
Prior to Beyond the Ball Robert was a small business owner for seven years. Robert began working with youth in Little Village twenty years ago. In addition to managing Beyond the Ball, Robert partners with community organizations from 16 other neighborhoods throughout Chicago to co-facilitate the largest community-based outdoor basketball tournament in Chicago and share best practices in youth and community development throughout Chicago and the world. He has shared his expertise at international events such as One Young World in Zurich, Switzerland, and Beyond Sport United at Yankee Stadium. In 2010, Robert was honored with The Private Bank Norman Bobbins Leadership Award at the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards.