Whether you run a long-time youth sports team in your community or want to get started with one, you might consider seeking youth sports grants. This extra cash can help for common expenses like uniforms, snacks and permits.
Rather than offering sports grants for individuals, organizations such as corporations and foundations usually offer grant programs that focus on nonprofit teams in specific communities, especially those where residents have a low income. You'll need to compare multiple grant programs and their requirements so you can find the best options for your nonprofit.
Basics of Youth Sports Grants
When researching youth sports grants, you'll find broad programs that can help sports teams as well as specific programs geared toward one purpose.
For example, some grants are designed for you to use the funds on anything that supports your sports team, whether you need to help fund membership fees or training for members. You can also find programs for teams that need equipment and uniforms as well as grants for building sports complex structures or paying for facility rentals.
While you can find public grants from the government for school sports programs, many grants for nonprofit youth sports will come from private organizations. These include retailers, sports associations, charities and community organizations. Many grant programs operate nationwide while others serve certain states or regions. They may also restrict the types of sports that qualify.
Each program's eligibility requirements will vary along with the application period and amount of the grant. In any case, expect to provide documentation and state your case to prove that you need the funding for your team.
Target's Youth Soccer Grants
If you need some funds to help your nonprofit soccer team or organization, you can consider applying for Target's grant program. It issues youth soccer grants of $1,000 to eligible organizations with team members between the ages of five and 18. The program has no geographic restrictions, but Target does note that it prefers to awards grants to teams in communities with a demonstrated financial need.
You can apply on Target's corporate website from May 1 to June 15, 2020. You can expect to hear back about whether you got the grant via email in October.
Dick's Sports Matter Grants
While it doesn't offer sports grants to individual players on your team, Dick's Sporting Goods has a program for nonprofit sports teams in communities with financial need.
This grant program accepts a wide variety of sports such as basketball, soccer, kayaking, polo, diving, horse racing, fishing, baseball, gymnastics and table tennis. To qualify, your community needs to have a Dick's Sporting Goods location within it, and you can only ask for up to $25,000.
You can find the link to apply on the Dick's Sports Matter website where you'll need to create an account through its sponsorship platform. You should hear back within 60 days, but Dick's Sporting Goods warns you should try to apply three months in advance to allow for a high application volume.
Good Sports Equipment Grants
If your youth sports team needs a grant specifically for equipment, you can apply through Good Sports to receive donations of items such as uniforms, shoes, balls, nets and more. To qualify, your team needs to be based in a low-income area. The organization also requires that your team members be between the ages of three and 18 and that you don't charge players a fee of more than $299.
You can apply anytime through the organization's website and get an equipment catalog to browse if approved. You'll have two years to place a maximum of six orders but will still need to pay for the shipping and handling on them.
Walmart's Local Community Grants
While this major retailer doesn't specifically offer youth sports grants, it does have a local community grant program that can provide funds to local nonprofit sports teams and organizations. Walmart can provide you with anywhere from $250 to $5,000 based on your application, and you could use these funds for a variety of purposes such as buying equipment, forming your team and paying fees for your playing space. You also have the option to apply for up to 25 grants if you can show a unique need for each.
Walmart's corporate website lets you apply for their grants anytime between February 1 and December 31, 2020. It will consider factors like your sports team's purpose and reputation in determining your grant amount and decision. You should hear back via email; however, if 90 days pass without a decision, you'll need to reapply since Walmart's system rejects applications after that point.
RRCA Runner's Club Grants
If you have a nonprofit running club, the Road Runners Club of America has a grant program that offers between $500 and $1,000 to both established and start-up clubs. The organization requires that you run a participation-focused team that operates multiple weeks during the year. However, it doesn't prohibit competitions or other organized events alongside that.
The RRCA restricts how you can use your grant funds. For example, you can use the money to market your team, buy food and water, pay permit fees and offer team rewards. However, you can't use it for staff salaries, travel or individual sponsorships.
You can apply on the RRCA's website between May and August of each year and hear back by the end of August. You'll get funds for one year and can apply the following year again if needed.
Daniels Fund Regional Sports Grants
Focusing on the southwestern United States, Daniels Fund offers funding for youth sports programs located in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. However, only teams in Colorado and Wyoming can submit applications since the others are by invitation only. You can choose to get a general youth sports grant or seek financial support for sports competitions.
To qualify, Daniels Fund requires that you show that your sports team has a positive impact on the community, is effective, has strong leadership and demonstrates viability beyond the grant funds. You'll first need to inquire on the organization's website about applying for a grant and speak with someone there before moving forward with the process.
Tips for a Successful Application
You can expect most programs for youth sports grants to have a limited amount of funds, so you should take care to prepare a solid application according to the given guidelines. Often, this might involve writing about your team's success and pleading your case for why the organization should give your team the funds. When possible, get some letters of recommendation or ask people in your community to give statements about the difference your team has made. For some grant programs, it can help to offer some advertising or something else in return for the funds.
Other Youth Sports Funding Options
If your youth sports team qualifies for some grants but you still have a financial need, consider some other ways to raise money. An easy way to get donations from people around the world is to use a crowdfunding website such as Sportfunder, GoFundMe or Kickstarter. You can also try to get local businesses to sponsor your team or hold community fundraising events like a car wash or auction. Other options include making some merchandise showing your team's logo to sell and charging community members for sports lessons.