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Women & Sports: Nonprofits Inspiring the Next Generation of Athletes

Women's Sports Foundation

The Women's Sports Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. It was founded in 1974 by Billie Jean King, one of history's most renowned and influential tennis players, along with a group of other prominent female athletes.

The foundation's mission is to ensure that all girls and women have equal access to sports and the benefits and opportunities of participating in athletic activities. They work to create a world where women's sports are celebrated and valued, and where female athletes are given the same recognition, support, and resources as their male counterparts.

The Women's Sports Foundation focuses on several key areas to achieve its mission:

  1. Advocacy and Policy: The foundation advocates for policies and legislation that promote gender equity in sports, including equal opportunities for girls and women in school sports, fair media coverage, and equal pay.
  2. Grants and Scholarships: They provide financial support through grants and scholarships to female athletes, enabling them to pursue their athletic dreams and further their education.
  3. Research and Education: The foundation conducts research on issues related to women's sports, such as the benefits of sports participation for girls and the barriers they face. They also provide educational resources to coaches, parents, and athletes to promote gender equality in sports.
  4. Outreach and Events: The Women's Sports Foundation organizes various events and initiatives to raise awareness and celebrate the achievements of female athletes. One of their notable events is the Annual Salute to Women in Sports, where they honor exceptional athletes and trailblazers in the sporting world.

SheIS

SheIS is a nonprofit organization that aims to increase participation, support, and investment in women's sports. It was founded in 2017 by female sports industry professionals who recognized the need for greater visibility and resources for women in sports.

The mission of SheIS is to create a culture of empowerment and inclusivity by uniting organizations, athletes, and fans to support women's sports collectively. They believe that by working together and amplifying the stories and achievements of female athletes, they can drive positive change and elevate the status of women in sports.

SheIS operates through a collaborative model, partnering with various stakeholders in the sports industry, including leagues, brands, media outlets, and athletes. By leveraging these partnerships, they strive to address women's systemic barriers and biases in sports and foster a more equitable and sustainable environment.

One of the core initiatives of SheIS is the "SheIS Collective," a network of sports organizations and brands that commit to supporting women's sports. Members of the collective pledge to allocate a portion of their resources, whether funding, media coverage, or other means of support, to elevate women's sports. This collective effort aims to create a greater impact and drive meaningful change across the sports industry.

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire and empower young girls through a physical activity-based youth development program. It was founded in 1996 by Molly Barker, a visionary and former Ironman triathlete, to help girls realize their full potential and develop essential life skills.

The Girls on the Run program is designed for girls in grades 3 to 8 (ages 8 to 13) and combines training for a non-competitive 5K running event with lessons that promote social, emotional, and physical well-being. The curriculum covers topics such as self-confidence, positive body image, teamwork, healthy relationships, and goal setting. The program is delivered through a network of trained volunteer coaches who serve as mentors and role models for the girls.

The key elements of the Girls on the Run program include:

  1. Physical Activity: Girls participate in a developmentally appropriate running program that gradually builds their endurance and prepares them for a celebratory 5K event. The physical activity component aims to instill a lifelong love for fitness and promote a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Social and Emotional Skills: Girls engage in interactive discussions, activities, and games that promote positive self-image, empathy, and effective communication. The curriculum focuses on developing important life skills, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and conflict resolution.
  3. Character Development: The program fosters character development by teaching girls about gratitude, responsibility, and integrity. They explore topics related to personal strengths, leadership, and community service, emphasizing making a positive impact in their own lives and the world around them.
  4. Positive Relationship Building: Girls on the Run creates a supportive and inclusive environment where girls can build friendships, work collaboratively, and celebrate each other's achievements. The program encourages positive relationship-building and empowers girls to develop healthy connections with peers and adults.

LA84 Foundation

The LA84 Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports youth sports programs and initiatives in Southern California. It was created in 1985 with the surplus funds from the 1984 Olympic Games, which were held in Los Angeles. The foundation's name, LA84, is derived from the year of the Los Angeles Olympics.

The mission of the LA84 Foundation is to level the playing field and improve access to sports for young people, particularly those from underserved communities. The foundation aims to provide opportunities for youth to participate in sports and reap the numerous benefits of athletic engagement, such as physical fitness, character development, and leadership skills.

The LA84 Foundation works towards its mission through the following key areas:

  1. Grants and Programs: The foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations and schools providing youth sports programs and initiatives. These grants support various activities, including coaching education, equipment and facility improvements, and sports-based youth development programs.
  2. Coaching Education: The LA84 Foundation offers programs to enhance coaching quality in youth sports. These programs provide coaches with training, resources, and workshops, enabling them to create positive and impactful experiences for young athletes.
  3. Research and Advocacy: The foundation researches various aspects of youth sports to understand their impact better and inform program improvement strategies. They also advocate for policies and practices that promote equity, inclusion, and access to sports for all young people.
  4. Youth Sports Summit: The LA84 Foundation hosts an annual Youth Sports Summit, bringing together stakeholders from the sports industry, education, and community organizations. The summit provides a platform for discussion, collaboration, and sharing of best practices to advance youth sports in the region.

WISE

The nonprofit organization WISE (Women in Sports and Events) is dedicated to empowering and advocating for women in the sports and events industry. It was founded in 1993 and has since grown into a global network that supports and promotes gender diversity and equality in these industries.

The mission of WISE is to create and foster environments that empower women to succeed in sports and events. They provide opportunities for networking, professional development, mentorship, and career advancement, aiming to break down barriers and promote inclusivity in traditionally male-dominated fields.

WISE offers a range of programs and initiatives to support its members and advance its mission:

  1. Networking and Events: WISE hosts networking events, conferences, and panel discussions that bring together industry professionals and provide opportunities for connection, collaboration, and learning. These events offer a platform for sharing experiences, knowledge, and best practices.
  2. Mentorship: The organization facilitates mentorship programs, pairing experienced professionals with emerging sports and events industry talent. Through mentorship, WISE aims to provide guidance, support, and career development opportunities for women at various stages of their careers.
  3. Leadership Development: WISE offers leadership development programs and resources to equip women with the skills and knowledge needed to advance in their careers. These programs focus on negotiation, public speaking, strategic thinking, and team management.
  4. Scholarships and Grants: WISE provides scholarships and grants to support women pursuing careers in sports and events. These financial resources help remove barriers to education and professional development, enabling women to further their knowledge and skills in the industry.
  5. Advocacy and Research: WISE advocates for gender equity and equal opportunities in sports and events. They research and publish reports to raise awareness about gender disparities and drive positive change. The organization collaborates with industry partners to promote policies and practices supporting diversity and inclusion.

Angel City Sports

Angel City Sports is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, California, that aims to create opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities to participate in sports and athletic activities. It was founded in 2015 by Clayton Frech, a father who wanted to provide his son, who has a prosthetic leg, with the chance to engage in sports alongside other individuals with disabilities.

The mission of Angel City Sports is to promote inclusion, empowerment, and competition for people with physical disabilities through sports. The organization strives to break down barriers and challenge misconceptions surrounding disability by showcasing the abilities and achievements of athletes with disabilities.

Angel City Sports offers a variety of programs and events to facilitate participation and development in adaptive sports:

  1. Annual Angel City Games: The Angel City Games is a multi-day, annual event where athletes with physical disabilities can compete in various adaptive sports disciplines. It features sports such as track and field, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, and more. The games provide a platform for athletes to showcase their skills, connect with others, and experience the camaraderie of competitive sports.
  2. Youth Sports Clinics: The organization conducts adaptive sports clinics for children and youth with disabilities. These clinics introduce participants to various adaptive sports and provide coaching, instruction, and mentorship to develop their skills and confidence.
  3. Sports Clinics and Camps: Angel City Sports offers clinics and camps for individuals of all ages to learn and engage in adaptive sports. These programs provide specialized coaching and training in various sports disciplines, helping participants improve their athletic abilities and enjoy the benefits of physical activity.
  4. School and Community Programs: The organization partners with schools and community organizations to provide adaptive sports programming and resources. They work to integrate adaptive sports into school curricula, promote inclusion in physical education classes, and foster awareness and acceptance of individuals with disabilities.
  5. Paralympic Development Programs: Angel City Sports collaborates with the U.S. Paralympic Committee and other organizations to identify and support talented athletes with disabilities. They provide resources, training opportunities, and pathways for athletes to progress in their respective sports and potentially compete at higher levels, including the Paralympic Games.

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