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Regional youth sports projects to receive grants to improve, expand

19 hours ago

Credit racf.org

Nearly $325,000 is going to 20 local youth sports and recreation programs.

The awards, ranging from almost $6,000 to $25,000, are part of the second round of grants from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth sports.

The Rochester Area Community Foundation is awarding the grants, which were established by a $5 million endowment from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

The basis for the grants is a result of findings from the 2017 "State of Play" report, which found that young people weren't getting enough physical activity, and that there's a need to make time for less-structured free play.

Simeon Banister, vice president for programs at the Community Foundation, said all the studies show that physical activity is very important for young people.

"Not only is it beneficial for physical health, I think that's pretty clear to folks, but also for academic performance," he said. "Young folks that are more engaged, more active, that get time to play, perform better in school."

Banister says thanks to the Ralph J. Wilson Foundation, this is an endowed fund, so they'll be able to provide this opportunity in perpetuity.

The Legacy Fund for Youth Sports distributed $329,000 in grants last year.

Among this year’s grantees: the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, which will use a $25,000 grant to create a play space in a building not used during the morning hours.

And the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester will use a $20,000 grant to continue a Weekend Free Play Zone to allow young people to participate in sports and activities that are usually inaccessible because of fee-based restrictions.