ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA (Laureus USA) announced today that it is accepting proposals for its Sport for Good Atlanta grants. Laureus USA will fund youth sports programs in three of Atlanta’s Westside communities – English Avenue, Vine City, and Washington Park – where K-12 children have had limited access to extracurricular athletics. The Sport for Good Atlanta grants will be funded by Mercedes-Benz USA, an Atlanta-based corporation and long-time national partner of Laureus USA.
Laureus USA is a national non-profit whose mission is to change the lives of youth and strengthen communities through the power of sports. With over a decade of experience in sports-based youth development, Laureus USA knows that long-term impact is achieved by empowering local program providers to target the needs that are most relevant to their own communities.
“These grants are in response to the Westside community’s input and feedback,” said Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley, CEO of Laureus Sport for Good USA. “The core of our Foundation’s strategic approach is to ensure our work directly impacts our beneficiaries and the communities in which they live. We were purposeful in learning about challenges from Westside residents themselves, and identifying where the needs exist. Those insights enable us to more effectively apply our expertise in using sport programs to drive youth development.”
To help gather those critical insights, Laureus USA partnered with Families First, Inc. Atlanta’s oldest and largest nonprofit family services organization. Over the course of the past nine months, Laureus USA and Families First have solicited feedback from hundreds of people living and working in English Avenue, Vine City, and Washington Park.
“Our partnership shares a common goal: to identify and support innovative programs and to be a good Westside neighbor contributing to the positive, collaborative fabric of our community,” said Kim Anderson, CEO of Families First. “From the outset, Laureus understood the importance of engaging Westside residents in the development of their plans, and we were glad to help them in gathering and aggregating critical information and data.”
Laureus USA and Families First wanted to better understand the challenges that Westside Atlanta youth face, as well as what youth sports opportunities currently exist. Out of 400 residents’ surveys, over half of which were responses from youth 12 – 18 years old, only 15% of respondents felt that there were enough sport offerings for youth in their community. An overwhelming 79% felt it was important for youth in the community to have access to sports, but affordability was cited as the greatest barrier to families engaging in youth sport programs. The local knowledge shared by youth, program providers and parents have now informed the focus of the Sport for Good Atlanta grants.
It is the goal of Laureus USA and its national partner Mercedes-Benz USA to help address these concerns by assisting local program providers in closing this opportunity gap.
“We know from past experience with Laureus in other cities across the U.S. that participation in sports can have a very positive impact on children, specifically their academic success,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “Sports can also provide a unifying force that strengthens local communities. As a member of the Atlanta community, we’re looking forward to our partnership with Laureus USA enabling us to harness sports to help open future pathways of success for the children of the Westside.”