In addition to being an educator, innovator, advocate, athlete, leader, husband, father, and friend, Eli A. Wolff was also a key member of the team behind the Journal of Sport for Development. It was fitting that someone who helped to establish the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, was also instrumental in the journal’s launch and commitment to advance, examine, and disseminate evidence and best practices for programs and interventions that use sport to promote development, health and/or peace.
Eli meant so much to the Journal of Sport for Development as he did to many other organizations, networks, and communities in the Sport for Development ecosystem. As a member of the journal’s initial Editorial Board and later its Advisory Board, he provided critical service as a journal ambassador and strategic advisor, guiding JSFD in its growth and pursuit of its mission. Below, the reflections from two of the journal’s co-founders and current advisory board members demonstrate just one part of Eli’s legacy and impact.
“Eli was a creator, a collaborator, a changemaker, and a champion. He was and, through his legacy, remains one of the most important figures in the SfD sector. JSFD is one small part of that legacy. Whether recruiting advisors and reviewers, helping conceptualize the journal’s positioning, co-curating JSFD’s first special edition in 2015 (on Disability Sport), or even just lending his influential name and brand to JSFD, he played a crucial role in advancing JSFD’s reach, adoption, and legitimacy. Without Eli, the journal would not have seen the same early adoption, gained the same momentum, or drawn in such a diverse mix of authors, reviewers, advisors, and readers. Indeed, JSFD may well not have come to get off the ground back in 2012 without Eli’s vision, energy, and leadership.” (Zak Kaufman)
“Eli came to the JSFD team as it was forming. It was a crucial point in the journey, where despite the common agreement that JSFD was a good idea, there was uncertainty as to whether it would actually come to fruition and survive. JSFD needed the endorsement and support of someone who had established kudos in the field, diversified the team, and had the energy to help launch JSFD. Eli provided all of this and more. In doing so he exposed JSFD to broad networks that would not have been reached by the journal for many years, if at all, without his engagement. It was these networks that contributed to the first JSFD Special Issue, which was a genuine transition point for JSFD. It was the first step in making JSFD a desirable place to publish and it set in motion the subsequent growth and success we have seen by the journal until now.” (Justin Richards)
From everyone at the Journal of Sport for Development, we would like to extend our heartfelt thoughts, love, and condolences to his family and loved ones at this very difficult time. We extend the invitation to share tributes and photos of Eli and to read about how he positively impacted so many lives through an online memorial at https://link.inmemori.com/jO2JZ2.