Leveling the Playing Field gives underprivileged children the opportunity to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of youth sports participation. We do this through the donation of used and excess sporting equipment to programs and schools serving low-income communities.
Our donations allow programs to allocate funds saved by lowering registration fees, expanding their scholarship programs, enhancing their existing athletic program and/or developing new ones.
Like most kids growing up in an affluent suburban community I was fortunate to be given every opportunity to participate in after-school sports. From competing in hockey and basketball throughout my entire childhood to trying golf for a summer, I was put in the advantageous position to reap the emotional and physical benefits of youth sports. Like many adults today who grew up in a similar environment, I cannot imagine what my childhood would have been like without it.
In too many low income communities both in our inner cities and in rural areas, the opportunity to participate in sports has become increasingly inaccessible due to the expense of participating. In fact, low income families are more than three times less likely to enroll their kids in youth sports due to the high cost of participation.
As both an equipment manager with Syracuse University’s football program as well as working with county recreation programs, I was appalled with the waste of sporting equipment I saw at the end of each season. The regularity in which people were throwing away unused or still perfectly good gear was absolutely shocking. It was that experience that ultimately led me to create what was essentially a “food bank for sporting equipment” through which we could funnel used gear to children who desperately needed it.
With the support of local youth sports families, we have been able to provide millions of dollars worth of equipment to schools, youth organizations, after-school programs and youth sports leagues to make sure that during and after school sports are accessible to students that were increasingly being left on the sidelines. We are excited to continue harnessing the collective power of our growing network of supporters to ensure that one day every child has the chance to participate in youth sports no matter what their family’s economic situation may be.