To increase access to sports and safe spaces for girls of color and support female coaches of color, Nike and Laureus Sport for Good USA are proud to announce Made to Play NYC Neighborhoods in central Brooklyn and the South Bronx. This initiative partners with ten grassroots play and sports organizations. At a meeting of the ten organization partners held last week at Nike’s NYC offices, representatives from Nike and Laureus discussed this three-year, $1 million pledge with the group. To increase access to sports and safe spaces for girls in and around Brownsville/East New York and Crotona/Morrisania New York, the initiative will concentrate on girls ages 7 to 14 and female coaches of color.


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The program helps to grow programs, promote the health of young girls in the two areas, and assist the women coaches who engage the children in these neighborhoods, extending Nike’s place-based strategy to have an effect. The campaign’s success will be judged on how many more girls of color have access to sports, how many more coaches feel appreciated and supported by their organization, and how much more capable each community organization is.

Sports and play are crucial for the growth of healthy children and vibrant communities, according to research. However, research from the Tucker Center and the Aspen Institute indicates that girls leave school earlier and are less likely to participate in sports. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated problems with sports accessibility by restricting access to established support networks and disproportionately impacted Black and Brown neighborhoods with limited resources, particularly in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The trauma of the pandemic is still present in unequal racialized results at the community district level in each borough, which is a result of and compounded by decades of systemic racism. These two tragedies show the necessity of expanding and amplifying already-existing healing-centered spaces in New York City neighborhoods.

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As a core group to promote boosting girls’ access to sport, Laureus USA and Nike picked ten non-profit organizations (mentioned below) that already assist children in their areas. This place-based social impact strategy offers multi-year general operational financing, a needs-based capacity-building program, and a ‘Community of Practice’ team of leaders to participating organizations. Two more partners, PeacePlayers and America Scores NY, current recipients of grants from Nike and Laureus USA, will join the ten core organizations.

“Our Sport for Good Cities model has shown that place-based, collaborative approaches have tremendous potential to help sports-based youth development organizations and the youth they serve thrive,” said Peter Feldman, Laureus USA’s Director of Programs. “We are thrilled to work with a partner like Nike that values learning along with our practitioner partners.”

Leaders from the organization met for the first time in February 2022 to discuss how sports-based youth development programs may more effectively find, develop, support, and honor coaches, especially female coaches of color. The lessons learned concentrated on how essential resources for coaches, including remuneration, are to their recruitment, retention, and support. Nike and Laureus USA are pleased to announce that they will continue to support the ten grantees with additional coach financing. These extra monies can be used for compensation increases, new roles, and more training opportunities that foster community, competence, and confidence in the coaches, especially among women of color.

“At Nike, we’re taking action to create a better world, by expanding sport for a new generation. All kids are made to play, but access still isn’t the same for everyone. That’s why we’re partnering with Laureus USA to give girls in central Brooklyn and south Bronx the opportunity to reach their potential through play and sport,” said Matt Geschke, North America Senior Director of Social & Community Impact for NIKE, Inc. “Made to Play NYC Neighborhoods is about creating place-based impact and transformative change – we’re championing leaders across 10 community organizations, who know their communities best, to go further together, so all kids living there have access to sport and play opportunities.”

You can learn more about the participating organizations across the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn here.