And somewhere in Cite Soleil, Haiti, children are getting a new volleyball court.
Ross and Kessy have bypassed a more typical sponsorship deal to sign with 4POINT4, an athletic apparel company that donates equipment and helps build sports facilities in the developing world. The Californians already have been feted at the House of Commons, representing the company when it was honored for its philanthropic work, and the longer they last in the Olympics the more the company will donate.
"It is performance-based," Ant Taylor, a principal in the New York company, said in London during the knockout round of the tournament. "So Olympic performance is having an impact in terms of real-world development projects."
Making their first Olympic appearance, Kessy and Ross beat Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolokova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals on Sunday to reach the final four. They will meet top-seeded Brazilians and reigning world champions Larissa and Juliana for a spot in the gold-medal game.
The men's semifinals on Tuesday night will match Germany against the Netherlands and Latvia against Brazil. Although no U.S. men's teams made the final four, the American women are guaranteed at least one medal in the sport the country invented and has dominated along with Brazil since it was added to the Olympics in 1996.
And there is still the possibility of an all-American women's final.
That could mean new nets for Cite Soleil, where 4POINT4 has been holding a volleyball tournament during the Olympics as part of a sister city campaign. Or even more volleyballs for a tsunami-stricken village near Phuket, Thailand, that Kessy and Ross visited with after playing in a tournament there early in their careers.
"We love the people and they love volleyball and some of them have nothing," Ross said. "We feel blessed, and we want to pass it on. And you meet those kids and how could you not want to help them?"
4POINT4 has a "buy one, give one" sales model in which each retail sale of a volleyball, basketball or yoga mat results in an equal charitable donation. The company also has worked on an educational project in the New York City schools and another sister city project, with former NBA player Larry Johnson, between Cite Soleil and Las Vegas.
The company also is helping to build Phoenix Stadium, a 10,000-seat, retractable-roof facility in Haiti designed by architect Carlos Zapata, who worked on the new Soldier Field that is home to the Chicago Bears.
Ross and Kessy said they are excited that they will get to help choose where the money goes. They have been focusing on the competition and not the details of the deal, they said, but after the Olympics they are planning to go back to Phuket to help more.
"If you could see these 12-year-old little girls," Kessy said. "All they have is these (donated) uniforms."
Taylor would not say exactly how much the deal with Ross and Kessy is worth, but he said 4POINT4 has contributed more than $200,000 to Haitian athletic infrastructure. Hundreds of balls and jerseys are being given to youth leagues in Cite Soleil and Phuket, and courts are being built in Cite Soleil.
"Up to 30 percent of April and Jen's endorsement goes to our philanthropic projects. So they have made a huge commitment to this by choosing to do this deal," Taylor said, saying he believed they were the first athletes to make such a deal. "It's a pretty bold move to be the first to take that step."
"What if every Olympian were to do that?" Taylor said. "What kind of impact would we have?"