The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Community Foundation:
For the third year, the Watertown Community Foundation has provided financial support to Watertown’s youth sports leagues so any child can play a league sport, regardless of ability to pay. With support from The Bilezikian Family Foundation, NESN, and Arsenal Yards, more leagues applied for and received funding to help more kids.
This year’s awards total $12,000, a record for the program. Grantees include Watertown Youth Basketball, Watertown/Belmont Football and Cheerleading League, Watertown Youth Hockey, Watertown Youth Baseball and Softball, and The Challenger Division of Little League, a program for developmentally and physically challenged youth (age 8-21).
WCF aims to serve Watertown youth from kindergarten through high school, their families, and the volunteer coaches who run the leagues. Many children cannot participate in organized sports due to the cost and many coaches assume the added burden of paying players’ fees themselves. The goal is to allow greater participation in team sports of all kinds for all youth regardless of their ability to pay.
“These funds give kids a chance to play whose families cannot afford the fees. Last year, the kids had a great season! They learned the fundamentals of teamwork and basketball while playing against other town programs across the state,” said Gregg Macomber, Treasurer/Vice President of the Watertown Youth Basketball Association.
Participation fees can range from $75 – $175 per student athlete, and can go as high as $1,700 per athlete for some sports that travel around the state to compete. While many youth sports leagues are able to outfit athletes with pre-owned equipment, other sports need funding to replace or maintain equipment to keep the costs of participation as low as possible.
“Youth sports leagues bring kids and families together from all walks of life and all parts of Watertown. Team sports are sort of a community glue. They teach children athletic and social skills and help build a welcoming community that attracts and keeps families in Watertown,” said WCF co-president Mary Ann Mulligan.
“The number one challenge for each league is making sure every student athlete who wants to play can play, regardless of their ability to pay. WCF’s grant program will provide financial assistance to those who need it and ensure that children who wish to participate are able to do so,” added WCF executive director Tia Tilson.
For more information on the Youth Sports Leagues Grants program or to support this effort, contact Watertown Community Foundation Executive Director Tia Tilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Watertown Community Foundation
The Watertown Community Foundation works to build and sustain a vibrant, close-knit community in Watertown – now, and for future generations. To accomplish this, WCF connects networks of non-profits, grantees, program participants, and stakeholders; builds financial resources from people and partner institutions; grants funding opportunities to non-profits and community projects. Since its inception in 2003, WCF has awarded $ 2,900,000 in grants to programs and organizations serving Watertown.
WCF Board of Directors: Lauren Coughlin Unsworth and Mary Ann Mulligan; Co-Presidents; Albrik Avanessian; Emily Barclay; Jennifer Davis; Ninos Hanna; Eileen Hsu-Balzer; Heather Leary; Maria Panaggio-Phillips; Anthony Paolillo; Lora Sabin; Robert Shay; David Siegel; Felicia Sullivan; Elaina Themistos; and Donna Tuccinardi