Frequently Asked Questions
The Women’s Sports Foundation is an educational nonprofit (501(c)(3) charity) organization founded in 1974 by tennis legend Billie Jean King.
What is the Foundation’s mission?
To advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity.
Read a few of our success stories here.
What are the results of the Foundation’s work?
- One of the top five public grant-giving women’s funds in the United States, the Foundation distributes $10,000-20,000 per week from operating dollars to provide opportunities for socioeconomically underprivileged and inactive girls to participate in sports and physical activity.
- The Foundation’s advocacy efforts have directly affected the amount of scholarship dollars supporting educational opportunities for female student-athletes in the United States. In 1972, women received only $100,000 but now receive $617 million a year.
- In the past 34 years, the Foundation has awarded more than $50 million in educational and cash grants to advance participation, research and leadership in sports and physical activity for girls and women.
- The Foundation’s support of national laws prohibiting sex discrimination has resulted in an increase in high school girls’ varsity sports participation from 1 in 27 in 1972 to 2 in 5 girls in 2006.
- In the 2004 and 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Games, 33 of the women competing received Travel and Training grants from the Foundation, and five medals were earned by the grantees.
Why does the Foundation exist?
The Foundation works for equal opportunity for our daughters to play sports so they, too, can derive the psychological, physiological and sociological benefits of sports participation.
- High school girls who play sports are less likely to be involved in an unintended pregnancy, more likely to get better grades in school, and more likely to graduate than girls who do not play sports.
- Girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression.
- Sport is where our children learn about teamwork, goal setting and the pursuit of excellence. In an economic environment where the quality of our life is dependent on two-income families, our daughters cannot be less prepared for the highly competitive workplace than our sons.
- The Foundation works to afford females equal opportunity to work and be volunteer leaders in sports organizations and the sports industry.
Who are the Foundation’s leadership?
- The Board of Trustees and Founder’s Circle includes corporate executives, Olympic champions, sports industry executives, Hollywood celebrities and research experts.
- Several Board members and the Foundation’s former Chief Executive Officer are ranked among the top 100 most influential people in sports.
- Staff and Board leadership reflect the Foundation’s commitment to diversity and integrity.
Why does the Foundation need to exist today with the multitude of opportunities for girls and women in sports?
- Too many girls, especially those who are economically disadvantaged, are inactive and, as a result, at greater risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and other serious diseases.
- More than 3/4 of 12th-grade girls are unhappy with their bodies, and one in three adolescent girls will experience depression, anxiety or eating disorders. Physical activity has been shown to improve self-image.
- Females have 1.3 million fewer high school and more than 60,000 fewer college sports participation opportunities than males and receive $176 million less in athletic scholarship funds each year. (2010 - 2011)
- Women’s sports is only 8 percent of all print and television sports media coverage (just exceeding horses, dogs and fishing).
- Women represent 41 percent of coaches of collegiate women’s sports, only 4 percent of coaches of men’s sports and 18.3 percent of athletic directors.
- Women’s Sports Foundation’s GoGirlGo! aims to get one million inactive girls active while keeping another million active girls involved in sport. GoGirlGo! also offers grants to sports programs for girls ages 8-18.
- In addition to getting girls and women active, the Women’s Sports Foundation provides educational materials on diversity, Title IX, the importance of physical activity and the promotion of female athletes.
…For these reasons and many others, there is still much work to be done to get girls active and for those who are active, to experience equal treatment at all levels of sports.
Is the Foundation a trade association?
No. However, the Foundation is considered to be “the voice” of women’s sports—an umbrella organization serving and “speaking for” women in all sports, all ages and all skill levels. The Foundation is a clearinghouse for all research and information on women’s sports and physical activity and is quoted regularly in the New York Times, CNN and USA Today; generating 1.5 billion media impressions annually on women’s sports and health issues.
What are the sources of financial support for the Foundation?
The Foundation has a $7 million operating budget with funds raised each year from foundations, individuals, the federal government and corporations.
What are some recent honors the Foundation has received?
GoGirlGo! — Gold award in the 2004 and 2006 National Health Information Awards recognizing the nation’s best health information programs
- The International Olympic Committee’s highest award, the Women and Sport Trophy, in 2000 — the first time the award was given
- United Nations Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council, the only non-governmental sport organization in the world to receive such designation
- Public Relations Society of America Big Apple Award for Cause-Related Marketing
- Golden Dot Award from the Democracy Online Project for www.GeenaTakesAim.com for its interactive civic engagement capabilities
- Women’s Funding Network Changing the Face of Philanthropy Award
What are funds used for?
For the past decade the Women’s Sports Foundation has spent on average more than 80 cents of every dollar on programming support for girls and women in sports and physical activity and less than 20 cents on fundraising and administration costs, well below the general guidelines for nonprofit organizations requiring that total fundraising and administration costs not exceed 35% of total income.
Why give to the Foundation?
The Foundation is meeting a critical need. The request for a gift is an invitation to join in an entrepreneurial social change venture, an opportunity to invest in the health, empowerment and success of women through sports. When we expand participation and leadership opportunities for girls and women in sport, these experiences pay dividends in the form of a stronger, healthier society. Join the Women’s Sports Foundation and help more girls get off the sidelines and into sports and good health!
For More Information:
Summary pages are available for the following areas and more: Advocacy, GoGirlGo! Program, the Travel & Training Fund, SHARP Center, Major Giving, Planned Giving, Research, and Special Events.
Women’s Sports Foundation
434 West 33rd Street
New York, New York 10001