Press Release – LOS ANGELES (March 22, 2018) – Today, the LA84 Foundation continues its work to close the equity gap in youth sports participation with the announcement of over $1.8 million in grants to Southern California school-based and community youth sports organizations. The LA84 Foundation’s goal, play for all, aims to get every child life ready through sports, regardless of zip code. Many of these grants reflect the LA84 Foundation’s commitment to dealing with a crisis that is hiding in plain sight – that not all kids have equal access to sport and structured play.
The LA84 Foundation’s limited grant dollars are going to what the foundation has found has the greatest impact: meeting kids where they are and implementing the benefits that sports provide, such as socio-emotional health, physical health, and academic well-being.
“The LA84 Foundation is proud to announce this latest round of grants in support of Play Equity and the #PlayForAll Movement,” said LA84 Foundation President and CEO, Renata Simril. “Many of today’s grants are going to youth development organizations that the LA84 Foundation has consistently supported and are cornerstones of the students, schools and communities we serve. And we are also delighted to welcome four new organizations into the LA84 Foundation grantee community.”
So, how are LA84’s grantees supporting the community?
A $25,000 grant will help the Sloane Stephens Foundation provide quality tennis instruction to children at elementary schools in the Compton Unified School District. After-school programs are limited at these schools, and sports and structured play opportunities in particular, are limited and that is most pronounced in their sports and structured play opportunities. The Sloane Stephens Foundation, founded in 2013 by current reigning U.S. Open tennis champion Sloane Stephens, is one of the first time LA84 grantees. Through nationally recognized after school curricula, college preparatory programs and exciting Net Generation tennis, the Sloane Stephens Foundation offers underserved students the additional tools necessary to achieve in and out of the classroom. Additionally, students and schools participate in the program free of charge. “We’re very excited to partner with the LA84 Foundation to continue to close the play equity gap,” said Sloane Stephens. “The mission of the Sloane Stephens Foundation is to enhance the quality of life for youth through exposure to tennis, life-long learning, and healthy lifestyle choices. Together, we will continue to open doors on and off the tennis court for children in Compton.”
The LA84 Foundation also reaffirmed its longer-standing commitments to other key school-based youth development programming. For example, a $400,000 grant will help to fund the Sports Program for LA’s Best. The Sports Program offers softball, soccer, flag football, basketball and competitive dance and drill team, and operates at 198 Los Angeles Unified School District elementary school sites served by LA’s BEST. The program is offered free of charge throughout Los Angeles.
For the LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell Branch, a $511,403 grant will fund their Middle School Sports Program. The LA84 Foundation/Beyond the Bell Branch Middle School Sports Program offers flag football, basketball, volleyball and soccer at all LAUSD middle schools. Some schools also offer additional sports, including futsal, softball, tennis, track & field and rugby.
For Students Run Los Angeles (SRLA), a $125,000 grant will help fund their sports program. Through this program, SRLA creates a safe, supportive community at 175 public schools welcoming more than 3,000 students of all backgrounds and abilities to train alongside their volunteer mentors to complete the Los Angeles Marathon. Annually, 95% of SRLA students who start the marathon complete it, and 95% of SRLA seniors who finish the marathon graduate high school with plans to attend college.
Over at YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, a $150,000 grant will help to fund their school-based sports program for K-8th graders. The program is Physical Learning Activities for Youth (PLAY), which brings expert coaches onto school campuses to teach/lead competitive sports skills and positive competition as a practice for lifelong health and character building. The LA84 grant will fund the Y’s work inside seven schools in 2018. “This gift from the LA84 Foundation will expand our P.L.A.Y program and empower children living in communities prone to the epidemic of obesity and related illnesses with the resources and support for establishing patterns of a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Alan C. Hostrup, President and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles.
Not all of the grants announced today are specifically for school-based or partially school-based programs. Some are for community-based organizations. For example, The Southern California Tennis Association Foundation are recipients of a $150,000 grant for the National Junior Tennis & Learning Program (NJTL). The NJTL was created to promote tennis among youth living in urban areas. This year-round program features instruction and competition with an emphasis on sportsmanship. SCTAF’s mission is to instill a love for tennis in all youth and provide economically disadvantaged children an opportunity to play, compete, and develop good sportsmanship, while building self-esteem and character, and individual self-growth.
Additionally, the following organizations also received grants from the LA84 Foundation:
- Aceing Autism Inc.
- Boys & Girls Club of Burbank
- Boys & Girls Club of the South Bay
- Boys & Girls Clubs of America – West San Gabriel Valley
- Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc.
- Harlem Lacrosse – Los Angeles
- Play Rugby, Inc.
- Positive Coaching Alliance
- Proyecto Pastoral
- Rose Bowl Aquatics Center
- Saint Sebastian Project Inc.
- Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Foundation
One grant at a time, the LA84 Foundation and its partners are advancing the #PlayForAll Movement. The #PlayForAll Movement is part of the LA84 Foundation campaign to promote the concept and practice of “Play Equity.” The Foundation is working hard to close the Play Equity Gap. Play Equity means fairness. Play Equity means opportunity. Play Equity means that the amount of exercise kids get must not be determined by their income or their zip codes.