Dollar for dollar, The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation is on a mission to help save youth and high school sports.
The DICK'S "Sports Matter" initiative enables youth and high school sports programs to generate funding to support (and even save) their teams, and The DICK'S Foundation will match each dollar raised if the team meets its goal.
From the Carolinas to California, 187 teams have registered for the Sports Matter program. These teams have until May 24 to reach their funding goals. Here are a few of the most inspirational fundraising stories so far:
NCLA Lady Falcons: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
The North Carolina Leadership Academy (NCLA) opened in 2013 with a commitment to instill leadership and citizenship in its students. But budget constraints kept NCLA from fielding athletic teams for the 2013-14 season. Now, this charter school is using DICK'S Sports Matter initiative to help launch the Lady Falcons basketball team in its first season of play for the 2014-15 season.
Contributions will fund team uniforms, practice and game balls, ball rack, travel expenses, and the purchase and installation of basketball goals.
Funding goal: $9,394
Need to raise: $7,358
The Riverside (Ohio) Local School District had to make more than $7 million in budget cuts, including the elimination of nearly $700,000 in funds previously allocated to extracurricular activities. As a result, pay-to-play costs at Riverside High School jumped from $225 to more than $800 per football player, an amount beyond the financial means of many of the district's football families. Without enough players, the future of the football program, a source of tremendous pride to the entire Riverside community, was in jeopardy.
Financial support is needed to meet obligations for field maintenance, transportation and properly fitted equipment, and to allow the football program to reduce its pay-to-play participation fees.
Funding goal: $10,150
Need to raise: $4,938
Lady Lopes Wrestling: First All-Female Team in Golden League
Female student-athletes at Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster, Calif., situated in the heart of an at-risk socioeconomic area of the Antelope Valley, expressed interest in participating in a not-so-traditional girls sport: wrestling.
This past season, the Lopes sent a small group of female wrestlers to compete in California Interscholastic Federation, Masters and State competitions. The Lopes now hope to expand the program by creating an all-girl wrestling team, which will compete individually and as a team in tournaments and events across Southern California.
Contributions made through the Sports Matter program will fund a new wrestling mat, uniforms, head gear, tournament fees, camps and travel expenses. The Lady Lopes are ready to represent their school and their community at the highest level.
Funding goal: $4,000
Help Kick Off the First BSA Soccer Team
Broome Street Academy (BSA) is a unique public charter high school, dedicated to serving New York City's most at-risk students, including homeless kids and kids in foster care. A full staff of educators, social workers and counselors ensures that each student is in the best situation to graduate and continue his or her education. However, the cost of employing a full support staff limits BSA to fielding just two teams: boys and girls basketball.
Having experienced firsthand how success in sports directly correlates to performance in the classroom, BSA is ready to expand its athletic program, starting with soccer.
A large number of student-athletes at BSA have expressed interest in playing soccer, not just to provide another extracurricular activity but to create a strong and supportive community—something many of them lack at home.
A soccer program can help support these students on their path to graduate from high school and give them the skills and talents they need to lead self-sufficient and productive lives.
Funding goal: $5,500
Need to raise: $1,215
One Town, One Team, One Dream: Louisburg Girl's Soccer 2016
The only opportunity for female soccer athletes at Louisburg (Kansas) High School to play the game they love is to make the boys team. The Louisburg Soccer Club has vowed to change that, and after two years of petitioning, the club was granted approval by the school board to raise funds to start a girls team at the high school.
With its sights set on the future, the club plans to begin play in the spring of 2016. To accomplish this goal, they must raise funds for the first season by December 2014.
Funding goal: $9,268.50
Need to raise: $6,499
Keeping JV Sports at Hamilton
Hamilton (New York) Central High School has a proud history of providing enriching athletic opportunities for all of its students—not just for its varsity programs, but also at the junior varsity and modified levels. However, for the past three years, funding for JV teams has not been part of the overall school budget. Private financial donations have kept the JV programs alive, but budget constraints again loom large at Hamilton.
The impact of donations made through the Sports Matter program will affect some 30 student-athletes at Hamilton, giving them opportunities to grow and develop as athletes while competing at the level that best suits their ability. The JV years are crucial for the overall development of players as they strive to reach the varsity level and beyond.
Funding goal: $4,089
Need to raise: $3,000
Visit the official Sports Matter site today to donate to these teams or any other squad that has registered for the initiative.
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