Over the past few decades the privatization of youth sports has led to a decline in public recreation and interscholastic athletics and a rapid increase in registration fees across the board. This phenomenon has become known as the “pay to play” model. This reality has led to a growing inequity divide as illustrated in a recent Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) survey that reported only 38 percent of kids from families with a household income of $25,000 or less playing team sports, contrasted with a 67 percent of kids from homes with annual incomes of $100,000 or more.
Leveling the Playing Field collects new and gently-used sports and playground equipment from the local youth sports community. Volunteers then sort the donations in our warehouse so that we can distribute the equipment to schools and organizations working to provide an affordable and accessible option to under-resourced youth groups, community programs and schools throughout the local area.
In evaluating our success, we found the bottom line benefit LPF brings to youth sports organizations is allowing them to reallocate equipment funds towards aspects of their program that increases affordability and accessibility. 90% of our beneficiaries report that they have been able to expand the availability of their program as a result of our donations.
These programs maximize the impact of LPF’s support in a myriad of ways. Some use it to offer additional after-school transportation for kids who otherwise might not be able to find their way to an afternoon activity. Others are able to purchase snacks and beverages for their participants . And a number of them use it to hire and train more staff in order to run additional programs and provide more personalized coaching and supervision.