Sports 4 Life

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.

2024 funding is made possible by ESPN and Gatorade.

Deadlines and Relevant Dates

The 2024 Sports 4 Life Partner funding cycle is open. WSF will adhere to the following schedule:

  • LOI application must be submitted by April 5, 2024
  • Target date for LOI feedback is May 8, 2024
  • Follow-up grant applications will be requested on an invitation only basis
  • Final decisions will be made by July 2024

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 2025.

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

  • Partners will be required to use We Play Interactive (provided free of charge). Hosted on a fully accessible digital learning platform, We Play Interactive is for program leaders, coaches and mentors looking to create a safe, welcoming, and engaging environment that empowers girls to explore, grow and thrive through physical activity and sport. This program is activity-based and includes best practices from the Women’s Sports Foundation’s award-winning GoGirlGo!  curriculum used for more than 20 years to help girls become more active. We Play Interactive is a flexible educational tool that can easily be integrated into any program. Learn more and register here.
  • 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, ESPN 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 $10,000 grants to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sports 4 Life.

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

2023 Recipients

African Peoples Education and Defense Fund IncSt. Louis, Mo.
America Scores New YorkNew York, N.Y.
Bay Area Women's Sports InitiativeSan Jose, Calif.
Black Girls Tennis ClubNorfolk, Va.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater MilwaukeeMilwaukee, Wis.
Boys & Girls Clubs of OceansideOceanside, Calif.
Can PlayWest Des Moines, Iowa
CitySquashBronx, N.Y.
Detroit PALDetroit, Mich.
ELLA Sports FoundationBurbank, Calif.
Evans High School Cheerleading OrganizationOrlando, Fla.
Friends of Fort Dupont Ice ArenaWaldorf, Md.
George Pocock Rowing FoundationSeattle, Wash.
Girls Inc. of Santa FeSanta Fe, N.M.
Girls Rugby, Inc.Portland, Ore.
Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership CorporationNew York, N.Y.
Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, Inc.Waterbury, Conn.
Hudson River Community SailingNew York, N.Y.
ICEF Public SchoolsLos Angeles, Calif.
Indigenous Lacrosse AllianceMinneapolis, Minn.
Jumping JuniorsChicago, Ill.
Marietta Schools Foundation/Marietta City SchoolsMarietta, Ga.
McKim CenterBaltimore, Md.
Mo-Energee Youth FoundationPhoenix, Ariz.
North Country HealthCare dba Girls on the Run of Northern ArizonaFlagstaff, Ariz.
Norwalk Stamford Grassroots Tennis & Education, Inc.Norwalk, Conn.
Open Goal ProjectWashington, Washington D.C.
Pace Center for GirlsJacksonville, Fla.
PeacePlayersBrooklyn, N.Y.
Republic of South Sudan LeadersOmaha, Neb.
Run4FunBrooklyn, N.Y.
Scorpions EliteSpring Valley, Calif.
Shooting Touch, Inc.Boston, Mass.
St. Labre Indian School Educational Association, Inc.Ashland, Mont.
Street Soccer USANew York, N.Y.
Team Up PhillyNarberth, Pa.
The Champion ProjectWest Seneca, N.Y.
The Cycle EffectEagle, Colo.
TrackGirlzFrisco, Texas


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