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?
The Women's Sports Foundation is dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring all girls access to sports.
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 upwards of $10,000 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 $1.8 billion a year across NCAA Division I & II (NCAA, 2014).
- 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 is dedicated to providing safe and equitable sports opportunities so that all girls receive the significant health, education and leadership benefits both on and off the field.
- 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 leading women and men in Corporate America, Olympic, Paralympic and world champion athletes, sports industry executives, and experts in fields of law, research and academia.
- Several Board members are listed among Forbes The Most Powerful Women in Sports list and are considered leaders in their industries.
- 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.
- Girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to participate in high school sports than boys. (NFHS, 2014)
- Women have more than 60,000 fewer college sports opportunities than men and receive $201 million less in athletic scholarships. (NCAA, 2014)
- Not only have girls not reached equity in high school sports, their share of opportunities has actually declined in the first decade of the 21st century. (Sabo & Veliz, 2012)
- Women athletes are actually covered less in media now than they were in 1989 (5% of TV coverage). In 2014, only 3.2% of network television coverage was given to women's sports; SportsCenter only gave women 2% of coverage. (Cooky, Messner, & Musto, 2015)
- Women represent 43 percent of coaches of collegiate women’s sports, only 4.2-3.5 percent of coaches of men’s sports and 22 percent of athletic directors. (Acosta & Carpenter, 2014)
- Women’s Sports Foundation’s GoGirlGo! has helped nearly one million inactive girls get active.
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” girls and women in all sports, and of all ages, skill levels and abilities. The Foundation is a clearinghouse for all research and information on girls' and 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 issues of sports, health and equality.
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 honors the Foundation has received?
GoGirlGo! — Gold and Bronze awards in the 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015 National Health Information Awards recognizing the nation’s best health information programs
- Effie Awards for effective marketing communication (North America, 2013) awarded for the Keep Her In The Game campaign; Goodworks - Nonprofit (Silver) and Small Budgets - Services (Bronze)
- 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 first non-governmental sport organization in the world to receive such designation
- Public Relations Society of America Big Apple Award for Cause-Related Marketing
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, Sports 4 Life Program, the Travel & Training Fund, Athlete Leadership Connection, Major Giving, Planned Giving, Research, Special Events and other Grants.
WSF New York City Office Location:
Women’s Sports Foundation
247 West 30th Street
New York, New York 10001
WSF Long Island Office Location:
Women's Sports Foundation
1899 Hempstead Turnpike, Suite 400
East Meadow, NY 11554