Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation joins the effort to empower young girls of color through sports
East Boston, MA – Today, the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW, in collaboration with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, announced Soccer Without Borders Boston as a 2018 recipient of the Sports 4 Life initiative, a national effort to increase the participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls in youth sports programs.
Sports 4 Life, cofounded by the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW in 2014, and supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in regions including Southeast Michigan and Western New York, supports programs that help girls in four foundational areas – leadership, self-esteem, confidence and perseverance – with the expectation that growth in these areas will also support girls’ physical and emotional health and academic success. Recognizing the value of Sports 4 Life, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation joined the initiative this year to provide regional support to eight organizations in Southeast Michigan and Western New York.
“Our vision is that one day, all girls will have the opportunity to reach their full potential through the transformative experience of sports,” said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “Even more than we believe in the power of sports, the Women’s Sports Foundation believes that all girls – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability, zip code or family income – deserve equitable access to the lifelong benefits of sports. We’re proud to team up with espnW and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to make that vision a reality.”
“In a few short years of commitment and focused attention, we have seen the tangible positive results that Sports 4 Life has brought to the lives of girls of color across the country,” said Laura Gentile, ESPN senior vice president, espnW and ESPN Business Operations & Content Strategy. “This program demonstrates the universal value and appeal of sports, and it is an integral piece of the espnW mission. We look forward to continuing to empower girls to realize their full potential through sports.”
Since the initiative’s inception in 2014, Sports 4 Life has awarded 200 grants totaling more than $1.1 million and reaching more than 50,000 girls nationally. With WSF’s support, Soccer Without Borders Boston and other community and regional partners have been particularly successful in increasing opportunities for girls of color: more than 85% percent of girl participants identify as African-American or Hispanic.
“We share the Women’s Sports Foundation’s vision that all girls have the chance to reach their inherent potential through sport,” said Soccer Without Borders Executive Director Mary McVeigh Connor. “The support from Sport4Life will ensure that we continue to break barriers to ensure that girls of all cultural backgrounds get in the game.”
Meet all the 2018 Sport 4 Life grant recipients and learn more about them here.
About Soccer Without Borders Boston
Soccer Without Borders is a 501(c)(3) organization that uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. The recipient of the 2017 FIFA Diversity Award, SWB directly serves over 2,000 youth annually through a year-round, team-based model. Through soccer, education, and community-building activities, SWB youth advance academically, develop personally, build social capital, make healthy choices, and gain English language skills. Soccer Without Border Boston began in 2012, serving newcomer youth living in East Boston, Chelsea, Everett, and Revere.
Soccer Without Borders