#SpringIntoPlay Campaign Launch at Ramona Gardens
LOS ANGELES – The Play Equity Fund launched the #SpringIntoPlay campaign on May 19, 2021 at the grand opening of the Ramona Gardens basketball court in Los Angeles. The court was refurbished through a grant from the LA84 Foundation and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Foundation, as part of their 2018 NBA All-Star Game legacy program.
The refurbishment included a resurfacing of the court, new backboards and rims by Legacy LA. With the court improvements, sports programs have been able to expand to serve 300 kids living in the Ramona Gardens housing development and the surrounding community.
The Play Equity Fund distributed over 1,350 pieces of free sports equipment at the Ramona Gardens basketball court to families and kids on May 19. Between 200 and 300 youth attended. Lakers legend Michael Cooper, Los Angeles Sparks Interim President Natalie White, Councilmember Kevin de León, Legacy LA, and members of the Los Angeles Police Department were in attendance.
As schools, parks and sports programs reopen after youth have lived within the constraints of home confinement for over a year, the Play Equity Fund is responding by launching the #SpringIntoPlay campaign to support youth sports organizations and nonprofits who are providing access to opportunities for kids to play but are facing critical needs for funding.
Youth across the region had been isolated for over 12 months due to the mandated closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Play Equity Fund has created a pooled fund for the #SpringIntoPlay campaign to support its partner organizations in the after-school enrichment ecosystem who provide organized sports and play programs in underserved communities. After this challenging year, these organizations need operational funding for coaches, play equipment, transportation and additional PPE.
The LA84 Foundation pledged a $500,000 challenge grant to launch the #SpringIntoPlay campaign, and this effort has been joined by the AltaMed Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the California Wellness Foundation, the Capital Group, JP Morgan Chase, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Steinmetz Foundation, the Weingart Foundation and others. The goal of the #SpringIntoPlay campaign is to raise at least $5 million to support the dedicated nonprofit and community partners across greater Los Angeles who are working to help youth socially reconnect with their peers and participate in healthy activities through sports and play.
“We’re grateful to those who join with us from all sectors and recognize it’s never been more important to safely get our youth active and engaged socially with their friends and coaches,” said Renata Simril, President of the Play Equity Fund. “These programs are essential to help kids reconnect and have fun while they learn and grow. This campaign will develop and strengthen the resources available to young people, which is vital to returning a sense of normalcy to their lives and helps support entire communities.”
The pandemic inflicted its heaviest damage on communities that have endured generations of inequities – where access to health care is limited, where poverty, obesity and numerous other health issues proliferate. The mission of the Play Equity Fund is to bring access to sports and play programs to all kids, regardless of their family’s income, zip code or their socioeconomic standing. In the wake of a pandemic, the Play Equity Fund is now building a unified response to a crisis during this pivotal time as children come out of a year of social isolation.
In the spirit of urgency and collaboration, the Play Equity Fund is seeking additional philanthropic and corporate partners to join this effort, and appreciates contributions of any amount to #SpringIntoPlay at PlayEquityFund.org to make a positive impact in helping kids across greater Los Angeles who have suffered from stressors that include loneliness, lack of play, school closures, sick family members and other hardships.
The Play Equity Fund is also a partner with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Earn, Learn and Play (ELP) initiative to ensure young people have career exploration, academic and recreational opportunities this summer as they prepare for the school year. The ELP website includes a map that can help young Angelenos of all ages locate nearby summer programs to enjoy the outdoors, play sports and discover the arts.
ABOUT THE PLAY EQUITY FUND
A 501(c)3 public charity, the Play Equity Fund was established in 2014 to expand the work and impact of the private 501(c)3 LA84 Foundation. The Play Equity Fund focuses specifically on bringing the transformational power of sport and structured play to children, regardless of their zip code or socioeconomic status. To learn more about the Play Equity Fund, visit www.PlayEquityFund.org and follow @PlayEquityFund on Twitter and Instagram.