Sports 4 Life

Published on August 31st, 2019

Sports 4 Life offers community funding and seeks to effect sustainable improvement to the overall health and development of girls in these communities through grant making, leadership training and capacity-building efforts.

Sports 4 Life, cofounded by the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW in 2014, was created based on the knowledge that while sports participation offers tremendous life-long benefits – from improved physical health and self-esteem, to better grades in school and enhanced leadership skills – young girls of color are disproportionately excluded.

The program seeks to increase the participation and retention of Black, African-American, Hispanic and/or Native American girls, inclusive of American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

2022 funding is made possible by Sports 4 Life founding partner espnW and Gatorade.

Deadlines and Relevant Dates

The 2022 Sports 4 Life grant application is closed.

If you would like to receive a notification when the 2023 grant cycle opens, please e-mail your contact information to Anne Peltier at, and include Sports 4 Life in the subject line.

Grant Eligibility

In general, the applicant should be a non-profit school, parks and recreation department, non-profit organization or an amateur sports league. Eligible applicants must demonstrate that their program meets the following criteria:

  • Serves predominately Black, African-American, Hispanic and/or Native American girls (representing more than 70% of the enrolled program participants)
  • Has the ability to deliver structured, developmental sports programming to girls ages 11 to 18 through experienced and committed leadership
  • Has the ability to provide ongoing funding to implement sports programming after the life of the funding has expired
  • Complies with all of the applicable Federal Civil Rights laws, including the requirements pertaining to developing and submitting an Equal Employment Opportunity Plan (EEOP), reporting Findings of Discrimination, and providing language services to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons
  • Sports 4 Life Partners that have received prior funding should demonstrate how funding has resulted in the growth of girls participating in sports. Any subsequent funding is contingent upon receipt of a satisfactory final and/or mid-term report.

Grant Exclusion

Sports 4 Life Partners that have received three years of consecutive funding will not be invited to apply until 2023.

Grant Allocation

Funding can be used for coaching, curriculum, equipment, uniforms, transportation, facility rental, tournaments and/or team-building activities, all while fostering the Sports 4 Life benefits: leadership, self-esteem, confidence and perseverance.

Grant Requirements

  • Participation in a Women’s Sports Foundation program evaluation webinar by a designated program administrator.
  • Completion of pre- and post-participation attitudinal surveys by the girl participants enrolled in the program.*
  • Completion of post-program surveys by the designated program administrator.
  • If requested, provide your organization’s most recent audited financials or IRS Form 990
  • Completion of a final report detailing the impact of the program and how the funding was used. Recipients that request renewed funding will be asked to provide a mid- term report.
  • If requested, participation in a site visit(s) by the Women’s Sports Foundation during the course of the program.
  • Appropriate acknowledgement of Women’s Sports Foundation and its partners support in one or more of the following: program events, publications, videos, display onsite at facility or website. Usage guidelines will be provided to recipients.
  • Regularly provide photos, videos, press clippings and other relevant publicity information about the projects, services, operations, activities or programs in which grant funds were used on an ongoing basis and as attachments to the required reports.
  • Access to the program’s girl participants for evaluation and public education purposes.*
  • Acknowledge that public announcements of the funding award may be made by the Women’s Sports Foundation, espnW, The Walt Disney Company, and Gatorade.

*The funded program is responsible for securing appropriate parental consent, as needed.

Grant Award

Together, the Women’s Sports Foundation and its partners will award a minimum of $280,000 in 2022.

How to Apply

The Women’s Sports Foundation has developed a two-step application process that involves a letter of intent (LOI) application and a follow-up grant application. A selected group of organizations will be invited to submit a follow-up grant application. Please note that an invitation for an organization to submit a grant application does not guarantee that they will receive a grant.

During the program application period, an authorized representative must visit Foundant GLM, the Women’s Sports Foundation’s grant-management system, and follow the directions to register a new user profile or update an existing profile. Limit one (1) profile per person/email address. Once your profile is registered, you will be able to save and submit your LOI application on the website. After your LOI application is submitted, you will need to be invited to submit a grant application in order to proceed in the application process.

Please read carefully through the full eligibility requirements and program criteria before starting a Foundant account and applying. Applicants will be judged on what information is available or provided at the time of application submission.

Apply Here

Notification of Application Acceptance

You will receive an e-mail at the e-mail address provided in your profile when your application has been received.

Any application that is late, incomplete or requesting funds for an event or purchase of equipment that will occur before the applicant would receive the grant money will not be accepted.

Other conditions under which an application will not be accepted:

  • Applications that are e-mailed or faxed
  • Applications for programs that require compulsory religious participation
  • Applications requesting funding towards the purchase of land, construction of buildings, event sponsorships, providing scholarships to individuals and/or the purchase/care of animals
  • Applications requesting retroactive funding

2021 Recipients

Southwest Leadership Academy (Ariz.) JTCC (Junior Tennis Champions Center) (Md.)
Girls Leading Girls (Calif.) Education First, Athletics Second Coalition (Mo.)
ICEF Public Schools (Calif.) Girls Incorporated of Omaha (Neb.)
Jamestown Community Center (Calif.) Boys & Girls Club of Camden County (N.J.)
L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs (Calif.) Borderland Boys and Girls Club (N.M.)
Netball America (Washington D.C.) First Serve - NM, Inc (N.M.)
Oakland Lacrosse Club (Calif.) Girls Youth Basketball (Nev.)
Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders (Conn.) Girls on the Run NYC (N.Y.)
The Washington Inner City Lacrosse Foundation (Fla.) Kings County Tennis League (N.Y.)
USA Water Ski & Wake Sports (Fla.) New Heights Youth, Inc. (N.Y.)
Atlanta Youth Rugby, Inc. (Ga.) PowerPlay NYC (N.Y.)
DeKalb Aquatics Swim Team Inc (Ga.) South Bronx United, Inc. (N.Y)
Georgia Elite Gold INC (Ga.) America SCORES Cleveland (Ohio)
KiDsGyM USA, Inc. (Ga.) RIVERSPORT Foundation (Okla.)
Chicago Youth Boxing Club Inc. (Ill.) Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (Pa.)
Girls in the Game (Ill.) Eyekonz Sports League (Pa.)
Lost Boyz Inc. (Ill.) Starfinder Foundation (Pa.)
Directed Initiatives for Youth, Inc. dBA Excite All Stars (La.) Memphis Athletic Ministries (Tenn.)
The 18th Ward (La.) TrackGirlz (Texas)
Beyond Soccer, Inc. (Mass.)TrailsforYouth.Org (Va.)
Playworks New England (Mass.) Woodland Boys & Girls Club Inc (Wis.)


If after reading these guidelines carefully, you have any questions, please contact Anne Peltier: 646.833.0424 or