Why LeagueApps Went to Congress to Speak About Youth Sports
By Melissa Wickes
September 6, 2023
We don’t have to tell you how important youth sports participation is in the lives of children. You live and breathe it every single day and you understand why LeagueApps is so steadfast in our mission to increase access to youth sports.
Since inception, LeagueApps and our nonprofit FundPlay Foundation have provided more than 500 community sports organizations with our software for free, enabled over 680,000 unique sports opportunities, and donated over $400,000 to mission-aligned nonprofits since 2017.
But there is still so much to be done, namely by ensuring the government recognizes the positive outcomes associated with youth sports and why they need to be funded and supported at much higher levels, particularly in underserved communities.
That’s where the PLAYS Act in Youth Sports comes in. In 2020, LeagueApps co-founded the PLAY Sports Coalition (PLAYS) to ensure youth sports programs thrive as part of a vital movement to help repair a society that needs community, connectivity, and joy.
The PLAYS Act would put the mission of PLAYS into federal action—it’s a bi-partisan bill, sponsored by Congressmen Colin Allred and Brian Fitzpatrick, that would establish a $75 million annual grant program to support nonprofit organizations working to improve positive health and youth development through youth sports and participation. If passed, this bill would increase youth sports participation nationwide, particularly in underserved communities.
Jeremy Goldberg, president of LeagueApps; Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, former vice president of community and impact at LeagueApps; and Jared Cooper, director of social impact have led the PLAYS team. Now they’ve set their sights higher than ever by appearing before the Congressional Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics to prioritize increased funding and support for youth sports. This ask includes passing the PLAYS in Youth Sports Act.
On Sept. 6, The Commission held a public hearing titled “The Future of Olympic and Paralympic Sports in America” with a grassroots sport portion—the perfect place for Jeremy to come in and speak about increasing funding for youth sports. And so he did.
“While I was never an elite athlete—unless you count debate trophies, my greatest sports accomplishment was a wiffleball championship at Georgetown intramurals—I experienced first-hand that sports create advantages that help you win at life,” Jeremy said in his testimony.
“The evidence is overwhelming, as shown in all of the Aspen Institute Project Play’s data, that the participation of kids in sports matters today: kids who are active in sports have 40% higher test scores, are a tenth as likely to be obese, and have much lower rates of depression… But here’s what the data also tells us. If you are a black or brown child, or if you’re poor, if you have a disability, and even based on your gender, you are less likely to access the benefits of playing sports.”
Jeremy explained to the Congressional Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics why it is so important that they add increased funding for these programs to the list of recommendations they make to Congress. You can watch Jeremy’s full testimony here.
Now more than ever, kids need sports and Jeremy and LeagueApps have just taken a massive step toward making sure every kid has access to them.You can learn more about the PLAY Sports Coalition and the PLAYS Act here.