‘SportPort’ program expands to give more kids opportunities to play
Eight Additional Communities to Join Equipment Sharing Program
Today, Project Play: Southeast Michigan, an initiative driven and funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, is announcing eight additional communities for the recently launched “SportPort: Equipment Sharing for All” program. Those communities include Chelsea, Detroit, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Hartland, Highland Park, Mt. Clemens and Wyandotte.
SportPort, a free youth sports equipment sharing program in southeast Michigan, launched with pilot programs over the summer in Marysville, Pinckney, Pontiac, Port Huron and Ypsilanti.
“While our initial pilot programs only have been in operation a few weeks, we’re seeing great success in getting more kids active one hour a day,” said Mariam Noland, president, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “We are confident that by working with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation on this critical program will help us create healthier, happier communities.”
SportPort enables children and parents to borrow equipment such as baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls and frisbee golf at stationary lending sites, such as libraries, rec and community centers. The program is targeted at children aged 5 to 13 years old and is free to all community participants.
To compliment stationary lending sites, mobile units provide opportunities for free play, sports sampling and demonstrations of new and different equipment for local youth in select community locations up to three times per week.
The SportPort mobile program, run through the Y Positive Play Initiative, is a collaboration between four YMCA Associations; the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, Ann Arbor YMCA, YMCA of the Blue Water Area and the Monroe Family YMCA.
“Child and youth development and health and wellness are two YMCA core priorities,” said Helene Weir, CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. “We believe all children deserve positive experiences to support them in realizing their potential. Opportunities to play are critical and we are excited that the YMCA can help by eliminating barriers such as transportation and equipment access.”
“The cost barriers for children to get involved in sports are very real in our communities,” said Jim Boyle, vice president of programs & communications, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “SportPort is a way to get sports equipment in the hands of kids, so they can sample a variety of sports and have the opportunity to get out and get active in their own backyard.”
About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1.1 billion through nearly 69,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties.
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the Foundation that bears his name. The Foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the Foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information visit www.rcwjrf.org.
YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit
The YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit has been serving Detroiters over 167 years since 1852.The Y serves over 75,000 metro Detroiters annually with support from hundreds of community partners. Programs are for everyone from cradle to career through their retirement years. The YMCA is committed to be a vital partner in creating thriving communities committed to family and community; child and youth development; and health and wellness. For more information, visit ymcadetroit.org.