Empowering More African-American and Hispanic Girls to Play Sports and Get Involved In Athletic Communities

NEW YORK, April 15, 2015 — The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), and national partner espnW, announced today the 2015 grantees for its “Sports 4 Life” initiative, a national effort to increase the participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls in youth sports programs. WSF has awarded $110,000 in funding to 22 grantees to serve more than 6,800 middle and high school girls across the nation.

The link between sports participation and the prevention of chronic diseases, like diabetes, obesity, depression and cardiovascular diseases is well-established, especially for African-American and Hispanic females who display lower rates of participation than their peers. By making sports more accessible, Sports 4 Life gives young females the chance to learn the foundational benefits of sports, such as leadership, confidence, self-esteem, and perseverance.

“The Foundation believes in the transformative power of sports, be it learning how to live a healthy life, how to be a leader or how to work in a team, and is committed to expanding access to sports for girls in diverse communities,” said Angela Hucles, WSF president and two-time Olympic and World Cup medalist in soccer. “Alongside espnW, we take our mission to provide and connect young female athletes with these opportunities seriously – cost, safety or transportation will no longer be an obstacle for girls to get in the game.”

In its first year, the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW grant will help organizations representing 14 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to create or expand developmental youth sports programs serving predominately girls of color.

“We have seen the positive impact that playing sports has on the health and wellness of girls on a global and national level, as well as overall self-esteem and confidence that carries over into the classroom,” said Laura Gentile, vice president of espnW. “Through this collaboration with Women’s Sports Foundation, espnW has an opportunity to reach young girls who have yet to be introduced to the power of sports and show them how sports can be their toolkit for achieving success in all aspects of life.”

“At ESPN, we’re inspired everyday by the countless stories of women and girls whose lives have been impacted through sports,” added Christine Driessen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, ESPN, and WSF board member. “We’ve been proud to work hand-in-hand with the Women’s Sports Foundation for many years to help advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity.”

The 19 latest grantees will join three model programs, including PowerPlay NYC, Girls in the Game and Sporty Girls, Inc., to demonstrate how funding can be used to recruit and grow sports participation by girls in these communities. Meet the 2015 grant recipients here.

To see several Sports 4 Life grant recipients in action and hear from current and former professional athletes Kym Hampton, Angela Hucles, Dawn Harper Nelson and Brenda Villa speak about how sports impacted their lives, watch a brief video on the grant program here.

The Foundation will begin accepting applications for 2016 this fall. For information and timelines about the 2016 grant cycle, please continue to visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org/Sports4Life.

About The Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation — the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports — is dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring girls access to sports. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, our work shapes public attitude about women’s sports and athletes, builds capacities for organizations that get girls active, ensures equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. The Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, expertise and influence.

About espnW

espnW serves women who love sports. espnW.com provides an engaging environment that offers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and shares a unique point of view on the sports stories that matter most to women. Founded in July, 2010, espnW lives across television, films, events, digital and social platforms. The annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit is the leading event of its kind in the sports industry. The Women’s Sports Foundation is a charity of choice for espnW.