The LA84 Foundation, which continues to invest proceeds from the 1984 Games to support non-profit organizations in eight counties in the Southern California area, has awarded $1.5 million this quarter to 38 youth sports programs. The Foundation has invested more than $214 million since its inception, and is on track to award close to $4 million in 2013.
As shrinking budgets continue to force schools to cut back athletic programs, this latest round of grants from LA84 will provide more than 37,000 children with the valuable opportunity to develop life skills through sports.
This round of grants covers a wide variety of athletic programs, including football, rowing, running, soccer, softball, speed skating, swimming, therapeutic horseback riding, wrestling, basketball, cycling, boxing and golf. While the majority of funding is being awarded to Los Angeles-based organizations, several programs throughout San Diego, Ventura, Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties also received grants.
“We’re proud to continue the spirit of the Games and open doors to kids who might otherwise not have had the opportunity to participate in sports,” said Anita L. DeFrantz, LA84 Foundation President and International Olympic Committee Member. A 1976 Olympian herself, DeFrantz remarked, “Once these children have the chance to get on the court, onto the field or into the pool, they establish good health and fitness habits and learn important skills like teamwork and leadership. And you never know, some of them may go on to compete in the Olympic Games one day!”
In its sixth year of partnership with the LA84 Foundation, the LAUSD “Beyond the Bell Branch” program is the recipient of the largest grant of nearly $500,000. These funds are used to provide year-round organized sports after school at all 98 middle schools in the district, reaching more than 18,000 children who would otherwise have to pay to participate in athletics.
“Every day, our staff is committed to providing all LAUSD students with access to high quality and safe programs beyond normal school hours,” said Alvaro Cortés, Executive Director of Beyond the Bell Branch. “We’re thankful for our partnership with the LA84 Foundation, which has enabled us to support the health and wellness of kids from local communities that need our assistance the most.”
The renowned running program Students Run LA received a grant for $125,000. This organization provides mentorship and training for approximately 3,000 middle and high school students enrolled in 165 schools to run the LA Marathon. The results of this program have been profound: more than 99% of SRLA students finish the marathon every year, and 99% of high school senior finishers go on to graduate high school (compared to the 60% average graduation rate for LA County).
Another noteworthy recipient is the Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) Foundation, which applied for a $100,000 grant to finance its Summer Night Lights program. This initiative keeps 32 parks in Los Angeles open into the night during the summer, and has been a pivotal component of GRYD’s success in reducing gang violence in at-risk communities over the past few years.
Since its inception in 1985, the LA84 Foundation has devoted over $214 million to support programs that have reached more than 3 million youth. This amount is more than double its original endowment of $93 million, which was derived from the surplus funds for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.