Johan Cruyff Foundation
After years of supporting various fundraising activities, Cruijff decides to play a more structural role and to ensure that money raised for charity actually gets to the people it is meant for. The result in 1997 is the establishment of the Johan Cruyff Foundation. Cruijff is one of the first (former) sports personalities to link his name to a foundation and to be effectively involved in its work. The fund focuses on handicapped children and children with limited opportunities.
One of the first projects to gain Johan Cruyff Foundation support is the Only Friends project. It is set up by Dennis Gebbink, himself the father of a handicapped boy. Object: to encourage children with a disability to take up sport. Meanwhile, the foundation is actively involved in acquiring sponsors, funding and materials.
Sport Fields and Housing Estates
As well as concentrating on helping youngsters and children with a handicap, Cruijff’s foundation also supports the creation of what become known as Cruyff Courts: sport fields in housing estates to encourage young people to become involved in sport. They offer children on estates a safe environment in which to play and by linking the neighbourhood, municipality, schools, business and sport clubs Cruyff Courts also serve a social function in the area. The first Cruyff Court opens in 2003 in Lelystad. It is soon followed by more. Similar courts appear abroad too: in the Antilles, in South Africa, Spain and the UK.
Johan Cruyff University and College
Cruijff never managed to complete a formal education. It was always football for him. But he realises that sport and education go together too. So if a sport career fails to meet expectations or when a career ends, players are not left empty-handed. Cruijff has therefore launched two sport courses: Johan Cruyff University, an HBO advanced vocational training course and Johan Cruyff College at MBO secondary school level. These enable rising players to get an academic qualification while pursuing a career in sport.