US Lacrosse is accepting applications for its National Diversity Grant Program, which provides resources to local groups and organizations to support projects and events that promote lacrosse opportunities among non-traditional participants.
Six different grant categories, with slightly differing goals and qualifications, are available: Girls’ Initiative, Urban Outreach, Community Impact, Event Support, Disability Access, and BRIDGE.
The application and a fuller explanation of each grant are available online. Applications will be accepted through September 15, 2016.
John Hunter, director of Twin Cities Native Lacrosse (TCNL) in Minnesota, says that a 2015 grant was instrumental in supporting his organization's mission to increase participation of Native American families and youth in organized lacrosse.
“With the grant, we were able to buy equipment, fund coaches’ training and enter our first organized team into league play by covering the fees,” Hunter said. “The grant showed us that the national lacrosse family is behind us and believes in the work we do. That alone was a great boost to me, the staff, the coaches, and the parents.”
Nearly 95% of the players in the TCNL program are Native American youth and 80% are playing organized lacrosse for the first time. The greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is home to over 16,000 Native American youth.
“One of our biggest barriers is the cost of participation, and the grant from US Lacrosse helped us to overcome some of that,” Hunter said.
A 2015 grant also helped to support Breaking Barriers Lacrosse, the first adaptive lacrosse program in New York. Breaking Barriers hosts camps and provides participation opportunities for players with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism and other disabilities.
”The grant allowed us to offer our camps at a greatly reduced fee because we were no longer paying out-of-pocket for things that were necessary to run a camp,” said Julie Boglione, founder and director of Breaking Barriers. “We would not have had the ability to continue with our mission without the financial help of the grant.”
“We’re excited to offer these grant opportunities to assist qualifying organizations across the country in making a greater impact for diversity in our sport,” said Eboni Preston-Laurent, senior manager for diversity and inclusion at US Lacrosse. “Connecting people that are traditionally outside the lacrosse community is a primary focus for our diversity and inclusion efforts.”