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Dick’s Continues To Invest In Youth Sports


Love them as a big sporting goods store or hate them as an all-powerful competitor, you have to hand it to Dick’s Sporting Goods for investing some significant resources into growing youth sports participation. The latest effort is a partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and The Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation on a new program to “upgrade and expand sporting opportunities for youth in under-resourced communities across the U.S.”

The Dick’s Foundation will help LISC launch the Game On-Community Places to Play Initiative with a $1.5 million grant. The program will fund the renovation of existing indoor and outdoor athletic spaces that serve more than 3000 youth athletes. The Game On-Community Places to Play Initiative will award grants between $50,000-$100,000 to non-profit community-based organizations leading renovation projects—including schools, local parks and recreation departments that are collaborating with local non-profits. Projects eligible for funding must be in under-resourced communities.

The grants will be used to meet a range of needs, including new court surfaces, nets, hoops, lights, bleachers, public address systems, fences, locker room facilities, goalposts and scoreboards. In addition to managing the program, LISC will also provide technical assistance to grantees to help them move projects forward.

“We believe that sports have the power to change lives and unite communities,” says Aimee Watters, executive director of The Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, “which is why we’re thrilled to partner with LISC on this initiative and help create quality athletic spaces for youth athletes and organizations facing sports infrastructure barriers.”

“Sports programs and recreational space can be catalytic for young people,” adds Beverly Smith, LISC VP. “It’s why a program like this, with a committed partner like The Dick’s Foundation is so valuable. It gives youth who live in under-resourced areas a better opportunity to thrive, and it contributes to the overall health and vibrancy of the surrounding community.”

Over the past three decades, LISC has worked with philanthropic and investment partners to build or renovate 450 athletic fields and recreational spaces serving 750,000 kids. The Game On-Community Places to Play Initiative will add 12-16 sports spaces to LISC’s portfolio.

With this partnership, The Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation will continue to grow the relationship between the organizations. In 2020, Dick’s Sporting Goods invested in LISC’s Black Economic Development Fund to fuel minority-led lenders, anchor institutions and businesses as part of an effort to close the racial wealth gap.