BSN Sports, a sporting goods distributor, announced
a $1 million program today dedicated to distributing free athletic equipment and uniforms to schools and youth recreation leagues.
The campaign, called the Victory Grant Program, was created to offset cuts to athletics that have come as a result of the current economic climate.
“This is a difficult time for our nation’s education system, and we are aware that athletic departments and after-school programs have been particularly impacted,” said Adam Blumenfeld, the chairman and CEO of BSN Sports, in a press release.
“We believe passionately in the benefits of athletics, from the perspective of improving physical health and nurturing life skills such as teamwork, dedication, resourcefulness and fair play. These attributes are essential to the development of future generations, and we want to help fill the gap left by funding cuts to ensure our children have the resources they need to continue to prosper,” he said.
The Victory Grant Program is open to all K-12 sports organizations and school athletic programs, and grants will be awarded on a rolling basis. Prospective applicants can speak with one of BSN Sports’ local field representatives or apply online.
BSN Sports’ umbrella corporation, Sport Supply Group, Inc., had already been running a $1 million athletic equipment giveaway, called the “Fit Funds Grant Program,” through its US Games division. Those grants focused primarily on elementary and early-childhood athletics, while the Victory Grant Program stretches all the way through the high school level.
UPDATE (4:05 p.m.): Mr. Blumenfeld, CEO of BSN Sports, just answered a few questions I had about the Victory Grant Program via email.
There’s no set limit to how much an individual grant will be worth, according to Mr. Blumenthal. But given that BSN Sports “will try to help as many programs” as possible, it’s unlikely that the company will award “an exceptionally large amount to a single applicant,” he said.
There’s also no set date as to when the program is expected to end, although Mr. Blumenthal stressed the company’s commitment to satisfying the $1 million grant goal. (Remember, the grants are to be awarded on a rolling basis.)
“We have given ourselves a great deal of flexibility due to the unique situation this country is in economically and the unknown funding challenges coming down the road,” he said. “A program’s ‘need’ may be even more a year from now than it is today. We want to take a measured approach, take our time, and make decisions that have a genuine impact.”
A committee based out of BSN Sports’ headquarters in Dallas will be responsible for the final grant decisions.
Mr. Blumenthal said that he hopes the program helps not only cash-strapped organizations, but helps re-emphasize the “need for a national focus on the fight against childhood obesity.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.