Trying to fund your school or community sports program but having a tough time providing the equipment and facilities necessary to meet your needs? Whether you have an existing youth sports program or are looking to start one, private funding is available through grants that can help plan or implement your youth sports project. Many of the sources for these grants come from professional sports and non-profit organizations founded to support and foster youth involvement in sports. Much of the funding is targeted to assist programs in low-income, at-risk communities where participation in sports is low due to the menacing equipment and facilities costs associated with youth sports.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is a joint effort between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association that issues grants to organizations that run youth baseball and softball programs and ballpark facilities that house them. These grants are not intended to cover normal operating expenses or as a substitute for normal program funding and fund-raising, but to expand programming and facilities for existing programs and to finance new programs. Grants are awarded to non-profit groups with tax-exempt status inside the United States as well as International organizations. BTF awards around 45 individual grants, each year, making an investment of 1.5 million annually into the future of baseball and softball.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund grants can be used to start a new program, expand or improve an existing or acquire equipment or facilities. These grants are designed for flexibility to best suit the needs of each particular community. To apply for a grant, you must first submit a letter of inquiry. These letters of inquiry can be submitted at anytime during the year. Grants are awarded four times a year in January, April, July, and October. Each grant cycle has a deadline three months in advance.
Good Sports provides needed athletic equipment, footwear and apparel to youth sports programs by partnering with sporting goods manufacturers to offer the ability to participate in sports to disadvantaged young people nationwide. The goal of their program is to help remove the costly financial barriers that often keep low-income youth from being able to participate in sports. The program has provided over $9 million in sports grants equipping more than 650,000 youth athletes to date. The benefits of participating in youth sports programs include lowering childhood obesity, increasing self-esteem, improving graduation rates and and lowering youth drug use and teen pregnancy.
Any school or community program can apply for a sports equipment grant. It is not required that your program have 501c3 status to apply for a grant. But to receive a Good Sports grant, your program must meet certain criteria. You must work with youth between the ages of 5 and 18 years old. You must serve youth located in a disadvantaged area located in North America. And your sport, fitness or recreation program must offer coaching of youth in a structured capacity that meets on a consistent basis. Good Sports does not offer sport equipment grants to short-term programs such as summer camps or tournaments.
If you are awarded a Good Sports equipment grant, you will be required to pay an administrative fee of 10% of the donation’s value to handle shipping and administrative costs associated with processing the grant. Good Sports does offer administrative fee grants, but they are rare and handled on a case by case basis.
The LA84 Foundation is a private nonprofit institution endowed with left over funding for the 1984 Olympic Games. It supports youth sporting programs through grants in the eight southernmost counties of California. The foundation has infused $214 million in funding to over 1,100 youth sports organizations since 1985, helping over 3 million kids in Southern California.
To be eligible to receive a LA84 Grant, your program must work with youth aged 6-17. The program must exist in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara or Ventura county. Your organization must be open to all youth, regardless of race, sex, religious beliefs or nationality. And your program must be certified as tax exempt and have proper 501c3 status. LA84 accepts grant proposals year round but funding is handled on a first come, first served basis. The board of directors handle grant requests three times a year, with deadlines in February, June and September. To contact the LA84 Foundation to speak to a program officer, call 323-730-4620.
National Football League Foundation
The National Football League supports youth and high school football programs nationwide with two types of grants to provide equipment and facilities improvements. The program is designed to support current and former NFL players work with community youth football. Any current for former NFL player making a private contribution to a school or other non-profit can have that donation matched by the NFL up to $5,000. Programs where former NFL players serve as coaches, the NFL will contribute an $8,000 grant to support that high school or non-profit football program. Grant awards cannot be used for coaching salary. Grant monies should be used to provide football safety equipment and athletic training for the youth football program.
Tony Hawk Foundation
The Tony Hawk Foundation offers grants to build public skateparks in low-income areas across the United States. THF has awarded over 500 grants since 2002, resulting in skateparks that serve 4.5 million youth across the United States. These skatepark grants are issued in amounts from $1,000 to $25,000 and are one-time, single-year awards.
To be eligible to receive a Tony Hawk Foundation grant, you must meet a long list of program criteria. Your skatepark must be planned for in a low-income area with a high population of at-risk youth where there are currently no skateboarding facilities. Your skatepark will be open to the public year round during daylight hours and will not charge an entrance fee. Your skatepark must be built from concrete by experienced skatepark contractors and its design must have a creative mix of street obstacles and transition terrain. You must demonstrate a grassroots support effort for your skatepark project, including a fund-raising commitment by local skateboarders and other community groups. Local skaters must also be involved in the process of planning, fund-raising and design of your project. Skaters cannot be required to sign a waiver and should be encouraged to take responsibility for their own safety while using the skatepark.