Sports 4 Life

Published on August 31st, 2019

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 African-American and Hispanic girls, ages 11-18, in developmental youth sports programs. In 2021, WSF will expand the Sports 4 Life initiative to serve Native American girls, inclusive of American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

2021 funding is made possible by Sports 4 Life founding partner espnW, Morgan Stanley, Disney, and Katie and Perrie Fund.

Deadlines and Relevant Dates

The 2021 grant application is closed if you would like to receive a notification when the next grant cycle opens, please e-mail your contact information to Anne Peltier at, and include the name of the grant 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 2022.

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 and WSF partners.

*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 2021.

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.

The 2021 grant application is closed if you would like to receive a notification when the next grant cycle opens, please e-mail your contact information to Anne Peltier at, and include the name of the grant in the subject line.

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

2020 Recipients

ICEF Public Schools (Calif.)Detroit PAL (Mich.)
L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs (Calif.)Girls Incorporated of Omaha (Neb.)
Woodcraft Rangers (Calif.)Dancing Dreams (N.Y.)
The SCGA Foundation (Calif.)South Bronx United, Inc. (N.Y.)
The Cycle Effect (Colo.)Girls on the Run NYC (N.Y.)
Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury (Conn.)Kings County Tennis League (N.Y.)
DC SCORES (Washington D.C.)Inspirational Triathlon Racing International (i-tri) (N.Y.)
Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena (Washington D.C.)PowerPlay NYC (N.Y.)
KiDsGyM USA, Inc. (Ga.)MVP360 Leadership Development Programs, Inc. (Pa.)
Girls in the Game (Ill.)Philadelphia Youth Basketball (PYB) (Pa.)
Directed Initiatives for Youth, Inc. dBA Excite All Stars (La.)Starfinder Foundation (Pa.)
Playworks New England (Mass.)Bridge Lacrosse (Texas)
Shooting Touch, Inc. (Mass.)


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