FundPlay Honors Five Remarkable Organizations

By LeagueApps
December 6, 2019
5 min

Our recent NextUp 2019 Youth Sports Industry Conference brought together organizers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and tech experts from all across the country. Dozens of presentations and breakouts afforded our audience the opportunity to learn from and interact with some of the very best in the youth sports space. 


With the help of RallyCap Sports’ Luke Sims, we also took the opportunity at NextUp 2019 to highlight five sports organizations that are making an impact in underserved communities: Harlem Lacrosse, NextGen AAA Foundation, Volo City Kids Foundation, Kings County Tennis League, and PeacePlayers International. Each was awarded a trophy, a $1,000 cash grant, and a Forever FundPlay software grant.


At LeagueApps, we believe everyone should be able to play sports, but children from underserved communities often miss out on this opportunity. That’s why we created FundPlay, which provides technology, training, and support to ensure that amazing sports experiences are available to everyone. 


We’re not finished celebrating these five inspirational organizations. For more on who they are and what they do, continue reading below. 


Joel Censer accepted the trophy and grants on behalf of Harlem Lacrosse. As the Chief Program Officer for HL, Joel plays an integral role shaping the HL student experience. “I’d like to thank LeagueApps for honoring Harlem Lacrosse as a FundPlay recipient at this year’s NextUp 2019 conference. We’re honored to partner with a company that is invested in creating BOTH a more efficient and equitable youth sports experience and to work alongside Jared Cooper, Jeremy Goldberg, Brian Litvack, and the rest of the amazing LeagueApps team. Let’s build a future where every kid has a real opportunity to get in the game!” said Censer.


Harlem Lacrosse is a school-based nonprofit organization that provides academic intervention, leadership training, and lacrosse to at-risk students. According to HL’s 2018-2019 Impact Report, the organization has achieved remarkable results. Program directors provide daily academic support in the form of study halls and tutoring, which led to 98% of HL students achieving a passing GPA. This fall, 67 HL students entered boarding school after earning a record $6.4 million in scholarships. Harlem Lacrosse began as a single program in 2011 and is now 30 programs strong across 17 separate sites. To learn more, download their Impact Report


Dee Dee Ricks is a true innovator in the youth sports space. She launched NextGen AAA in 2017, a 501(c)(3) that provides mentoring, education, and hockey programs to diverse, low-income, and at-risk youth throughout North America. In just two years, NextGEN has raised close to $900,000 with 87% of funds going to programming costs. NextGEN has awarded over $500k in scholarships and has helped their student-athletes receive over $748k in scholarships to leading preparatory schools. “I am very proud that 100% of our 400+ student-athletes have passing grades, with 85% achieving a B- or better GPA,” remarked Ricks in a recent release. Ricks also participated in NextUp 2019 as a panelist on the “Reaching New Audiences” panel discussion moderated by Tom Farrey. To learn more about Next Gen AAA, click here


The Volo City Kids Foundation provides free organized sports for kids across the country. Nayla Bautista, the Executive Director of Volo City Kids, has helped create a sustainable youth sports ecosystem. On the volunteer side, Volo City has been successful in attracting young professionals who are looking to get involved with their own community through the kids leagues. They’ve also found business partners willing to donate food and drink, helping them create an enjoyable post-game atmosphere. These unique post game social events provide players and parents the opportunity to meet others within the community as well as connect with volunteers and local business contributors. If you’d like to get involved with Volo City Kids in one of their six major cities, click here


The Kings County Tennis League uses tennis as an instrument for youth development and community building for children living in and around public housing in Brooklyn. The KCTL’s communication’s director, Mara Mazza, was happy to report huge gains enjoyed by the organization in 2019. Summer programming hours increased by more than 50 percent year over year and the organization launched a brand new Mentorship Program. The new initiative provides guidance and support to KCTL alumni as they enter high school. To learn more about the KCTL’s core offerings, including their Pee Wee, GoGirlGo!, and Upswing programs, click here


PeacePlayers International offers basketball programming, peace education, and leadership development to those living in communities in conflict. Sally Nnamani accepted the trophy and grants on behalf of the organization. She began working with PeacePlayers in 2015 and currently serves as a program manager. Her role supports the program design and management process in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. The size and scope of PeacePlayers’ impact is truly awe-inspiring. Since 2005, they have trained over 2,000 coaches, collaborated with 260 partner schools & non-profits, and impacted 75,000 youth athletes. Their work in Israel and Northern Ireland is particularly striking and a testament to the impact sports can have on young people. This visual below from their website tells the story. 



If you’d like to learn more about PeacePlayers or how you can contribute at one of their many locations, click here


Additionally, if you’d like to apply for a grant for your organization or would like to nominate a worthy organization, click below.