By I-Chun Chen
December 9, 2020
Under Armour, ESPN and the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) are once again partnering on a new round of grants aimed at helping community groups transform vacant lots into community spaces for sports and recreation.
Through the RePlay initiative, Disney-owned ESPN and Baltimore-based Under Armour said they will award grants to four organizations in Newark, New Jersey; Flint, Michigan; Milwaukee; and Cincinnati.
Organizations can apply for $10,000 planning grants and $75,000 implementation grants beginning Dec. 7. The application deadline is April 30, 2021.
LISC, a community development finance institution, will identify projects for RePlay and assist residents and community groups with pre-development and construction.
For 2021, Replay has adopted the theme of “Play On,” and will work to educate community organizations, funders, business leaders and policymakers about the importance of investing in sports and recreational space, even during the pandemic.
The organization said the grant program is particularly important this year given the impact of Covid-19. According to the Aspen Institute, youth sports participation has declined by 6.5 hours per week since the beginning of the pandemic.
Children in lower-income households have been hit especially hard, spending two hours less on sports each week compared to kids in higher-income families. Even prior to the pandemic, youth ages 6-18 in low-income communities quit sports at six times the rate of kids from higher-income areas.
Vacant neighborhood lots offer great opportunities to address these disparities and provide access to safe, healthy recreation spaces.
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Source: Baltimore Business Journal