Sports4Life_201604_2x1New York, NY (May 5, 2016) – The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) teamed up with espnW to announce today that South Bronx United, based in Bronx, NY, is a 2016 recipient of a “Sports 4 Life”program. In a national effort to increase participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls in youth athletics, WSF has awarded $194,250 in Sports 4 Life funding to 40 organizations this spring and is estimated to serve more than 10,000 middle and high school students. Meet the 2016 grant recipients here:

The Sports 4 Life program is serving an unprecedented 40 organizations this year. The 35 latest grantees will join five programs that have previously been awarded funding, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Pueblo County (California), Girls in the Game (Illinois), The Charm City Youth Lacrosse League (Maryland), Detroit PAL (Detroit), Play Like A Girl! (Texas). These community programs demonstrate how this national support can be used to grow sports participation for girls who are underrepresented in athletics.

“The Women’s Sports Foundation has seen time and again the positive impact of sports in young girls lives, whether it is teaching them how to be leaders, how to solve conflicts and work in a team, or how to care for their bodies and minds in a healthy and balanced way,” said Angela Hucles, WSF president and two-time Olympic and World Cup medalist in soccer. “We’re proud to partner with espnW in our mission to provide girls in underserved communities the opportunity to play sports. Cost, safety or transportation will no longer be an obstacle for these girls to get in the game.”

By making sports more accessible, Sports 4 Life allows young females the chance to learn the foundational benefits of sports, such as leadership, confidence, self-esteem and perseverance. Survey results from girls in organizations receiving Sports 4 Life funding in 2015 found 92 percent felt confident or somewhat confident about their body and 93 percent felt their body was getting healthier.

Laura Gentile, senior vice president, espnW and Women’s Initiatives at ESPN said, “Across ESPN and the industry as a whole, we see the significant impact that sports can have on women’s everyday lives. Urban girls, especially girls of color, face unique barriers to sports participation so we are proud to expand opportunities to young girls around the country through our partnership with the Women’s Sports Foundation.”

2015 Sports 4 Life program participant Aliyyah Miller said the additional confidence she’s gained from playing sports “has given me a reason to have faith in myself, and to believe that I could be successful. The first time I scored a goal I couldn’t believe it. Then I kept practicing and it kept happening. It’s a good example of what can happen when you put in the work.”

The vast majority surveyed (95 percent), plan to be involved with sports and exercise as an adult, placing themselves at a lower risk for chronic diseases, like diabetes, obesity, depression and cardiovascular diseases. All of these conditions are more prevalent among African-American and Hispanic females who display lower athletic participation rates and higher barrier to entry in sports.

Since the inception of the program in 2015, there have been 82 total grants awarded to 77 organizations, with five repeat grant recipients.

The Foundation will begin accepting applications for 2017 this fall. For information and timelines about the 2017 grant cycle, please continue to visit


The Women’s Sports Foundation — the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports — is dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring girls access to sports. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, our work shapes public attitude about women’s sports and athletes, builds capacities for organizations that get girls active, ensures equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. The Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, expertise and influence.

espnW serves women who love sports. provides an engaging environment that offers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and shares a unique point of view on the sports stories that matter most to women. Founded in July, 2010, espnW lives across television, films, events, digital and social platforms. The annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit is the leading event of its kind in the sports industry. The Women’s Sports Foundation is a charity of choice for espnW. 


Ryan Oliver,  Zeno Group/Women’s Sports Foundation, at  For SBU, email Sara Conley at