Derby Field

After 147 Kentucky Derbys, Louisville Knows Sports

Louisville Sports Commission and Partners Launch Sports Fun(d)

Grant Program will Support ‘More Sports. More Kids. More Places’

Louisville, Ky. – June 9, 2021 – The Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) has teamed with Gill Holland, the Sociable Weaver Foundation and the Humana Foundation, as well as local and national sports organizations, to create SportsFun(d), a grant program that will provide “more sports for more kids in more places.” The initiative’s launch was unveiled today at a press conference in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood.

The SportsFun(d) model is to partner with sports programming organizations and provide grants that help expand and create additional, affordable and sustainable recreational sports leagues and activities in the neighborhoods where kids live.

“We believe SportsFun(d) will make a difference immediately in our community. Sports and exercise play a pivotal role in improving the social determinants of health,” said Luke Gamble, SportsFun(d) interim executive director. “Studies have consistently shown that physically active kids have higher self-esteem, perform better in school, are more likely to stay out of trouble and less likely to suffer from obesity, chronic diseases and mental health issues.”

LSC will oversee SportsFun(d) as part of Louisville Active, the organization’s community outreach initiative that promotes better health through a culture of active lifestyles. Louisville Active was selected as one of five projects in Bingham Fellows 2016 class that focused on “Empowering Citizens to Live Healthier Lives” and was endorsed by the Louisville Health Advisory Board, a population health strategy focused on community and business integration to improve clinical and social health outcomes.

“We recognize there are many areas in our community that would benefit from additional organized sports activities,” said Karl F. Schmitt Jr., Louisville Sports Commission president and CEO. “At the behest of board leadership, our LSC team constantly is searching for innovative and creative ways to reach underserved neighborhoods, while staying true to our core mission of attracting and hosting sports events. SportsFun(d) was founded when Gill Holland described to us his vision for a grant program that eventually could impact thousands of kids. LSC was proud to incubate and accelerate SportsFun(d) during the last 18 months and hope one day for it to be a nationally recognized and replicated model.”

Schmitt cited Holland’s sense of purpose and the continued success of Fund for the Arts, Louisville Metro United Way and the Crusade for Children as clear evidence that Louisville is a giving community where people and trusted organizations can make a difference on a large scale. “This public-spirited mindset helped convince us that SportsFun(d) can work. LSC also is able to tap into the numerous national sports and health and wellness organizations that have funding dedicated toward community impact grants for initiatives such as Sports Fun(d).”

In addition to foundation grant dollars, LSC has secured program funding from Pioneer Region USA Volleyball and Team Travel Source, a housing and sports consultancy services company.

SportsFun(d) currently has identified and is working with the following programming partners:

● Flaget Rams Youth Football / USA Football
● KIVA / Pioneer Region USA Volleyball
● Louisville City FC
● Louisville Fencing Club / USA Fencing
● Louisville Parks and Recreation
● West Louisville Tennis Club / USTA Kentucky
● West Side Track Club / USA Track & Field Kentucky
● YMCA of Greater Louisville

An advisory committee is in place to ensure SportsFun(d) remains focused on providing sustainable sports programming for Louisville’s underserved neighborhoods. Current committee members are:

● Derek Anderson, Derek Anderson Works Inc.
● Brad Estes, Louisville City FC
● Tara Guenther, Hipp Inspired
● Ben Johnson, Louisville Parks and Recreation
● Dana Johnson, Greater Louisville Inc.
● Aaron Jordan, The Black Complex
● Ron Kordes, Kentucky Indiana Volleyball Academy
● James Schooler, Schooler Prep Academy
● Marita Willis, Hope Collaborative

SportsFun(d). “More sports, more kids, more places”—more play. For more information about SportsFun(d) including how to apply for grants, go to http://sportsfundky.org. You can also email Luke Gamble at lgamble@louisvillesports.org.