LOS ANGELES (June 18, 2014) – Today, the LA84 Foundation Board of Directors approved $1.3 million in grants to 29 community sports programs serving youth across the eight southernmost counties of California. This brings the grants total this year to $3.1 million, with one more round of allocations scheduled for October of this year.
As the most prominent funder of youth sports programs in Southern California, LA84’s latest round of grants will provide upwards of 35,000 youth with equipment, coaches, scholarships and safe and functional facilities for a variety of sports. This funding will provide critical support to after school programs and organizations working in underserved communities.
Endowed nearly 30 years ago with a portion of the proceeds from the 1984 Olympic Games, the Foundation has since invested more than $220 million back into programs that cultivate the next generation of athletes and builds strong communities.
The Board also voted unanimously to select longtime LA84 board member Frank Sanchez as Chairman. He succeeds Robert Graziano, who served in that role for the past four years. Sanchez is a McDonald’s licensee, and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Sports Council, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the McDonald’s Operators Association of Southern California.
“It’s an honor to be elected by some of the community’s most dedicated business leaders and civic servants to lead LA84’s Board of Directors, and I thank Bob for dedicating many years in this role,” said Sanchez. “As we approach the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Olympic Games, we look forward to maximizing the impact of the Games by offering life-changing opportunities to more children across Southern California through sports.”
$1.3 Million in Grants Supports Diverse Organizations
Five of the grants in this round have been awarded to youth football organizations: the Azusa Junior All American Football Corporation, Boyle Heights Youth Football, Duarte Hawks Youth Football Corporation, the Junior Raiders Enrichment & Athletic Mentorship Youth Development Organization and the Whittier Youth Football Association. Importantly, each of these organizations meets the youth football grant guidelines that LA84 put into effect last year to protect the safety of young athletes; notably, they do not offer tackle football to children eight years of age or younger, have agreed to training in tackling techniques designed to reduce head trauma, and will limit contract drills during practices.
“It’s very encouraging that several organizations are taking the growing problem of concussions in youth football seriously, and are changing their programs to protect young football players from concussions as a result,” said Anita L. DeFrantz, President of the LA84 Foundation, who issued a statement on this issue last month. “This is a testament to the positive influence that LA84 continues to exert at the local level. We are thankful for the cooperation of organizations that are working alongside us to create meaningful solutions to this nationwide epidemic.”
Other notable grant recipients include:
• The Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell Branch will receive a $449,820, grant for their after school intramural sports program, serving 8,000 students across the district’s 95 middle schools. Thanks to this seven-year partnership, which provides coaches, uniforms and equipment, more than 56,000 middle school students have had the valuable opportunity to participate in sports, learning life skills that will serve them on and off the field.
• The City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GYRD) Summer Night Lights program will receive a $75,000 grant to extend the summer hours at 32 parks and recreation centers across the city. The initiative also offers diverse community programming, hires and trains at-risk teenagers from the community and provides youth with coaches, mentors and instructors.
• Similarly, the County of Los Angeles Parks After Dark Youth Sports Program will receive $30,000 to keep six county parks open late throughout the summer and provide programming to encourage active lifestyles and promote community cohesion.
• Youth and Leaders Living Actively (YALLA), which utilizes soccer to reach diverse populations of refugee and immigrant youth in the greater San Diego area, will receive a $20,000 grant to help fund their sports program. YALLA provides these youth with a supportive network of coaches and mentors to help develop their athletics and leadership skills, as well as to help prepare them for college.
About the LA84 Foundation
The LA84 Foundation was established to manage Southern California’s share of the surplus from the successful 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The Foundation received an endowment of $93 million. Since it began operations in 1985, it has invested $220 million back into the communities that supported the Games, supporting more than 3 million youth in the eight Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Its headquarters is the historic Britt House near downtown Los Angeles where it houses the world’s premier sports library and meeting facilities. The Foundation provides grants to youth sports organizations, manages programs, including a coaching education program, and convenes numerous forums for the exploration of the most pressing issues in sport. For more information, please visit www.la84.org.