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ESPN, Under Armour and LISC Announce Grants to Turn Vacant Spaces into Valuable Places for Sports, Recreation and Play

NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Community organizations and municipalities in Atlanta; Decatur, Ga.; Detroit; Oakland and Toledo, Ohio will receive grants totaling $256,500 to help transform vacant lots into sports, recreation and play spaces.

The 13 awards, announced today, are part of ESPN's RePlay initiative, a collaboration with Under Armour and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), one of the nation's leading community development finance institutions.

RePlay seeks to help local organizations and residents plan and implement revitalization projects that transform vacant spaces into safe, quality places for youth and community. The awards include planning grants ranging from $7,500 to $10,000 to nine community organizations and one municipality, and $75,000 implementation grants to two groups. All are intended to help revitalize vacant spaces, which present great opportunities for access to safe, healthy recreation.

According to the Brookings Institution, in 60 U.S. cities with populations over 100,000, there are an average of two vacant buildings for every 1,000 residents.

"At ESPN, we're committed to providing access to and empowerment through sports for all people, especially in underserved communities where places to play sports aren't always available," said Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president of Corporate Citizenship. "RePlay aims to turn these vacant lots into play spaces that act as vibrant hubs at the heart of their communities. Together with Under Armour, LISC and local residents, we're excited to transform these vacant properties into valuable community assets, allowing youth to access sports so they can take advantage of all of its benefits."

"There is no greater team than our communities. Utilizing the innovative spirit and passion of our community leaders to transform and activate vacant lots creates an opportunity to share a sense of belonging and responsibility, while making our communities better," said Stacey Ullrich, Under Armour Head of Social Responsibility and Community Affairs. "Together with ESPN and LISC, we look forward to expanding our footprint into additional cities and partnering with more organizations so that we can continue to make an impact."

LISC, which has nearly 40 years of experience working with community organizations, identified the projects through a formal application process and will provide technical assistance to local residents, community groups and municipalities in the predevelopment and construction phases. ESPN and Under Armour are providing the grants.

$75,000 implementation grants are to:

  • Soccer in the Streets, in Atlanta.
  • 360 Detroit, Inc., in Detroit.

$10,000 planning grants are to:

  • EastSide Arts Alliance, in Oakland.
  • Fam1st Family Foundation, in Oakland.
  • PushPush Film and Theater, Inc./ Seedworks, in Decatur, Ga.
  • Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, in Detroit.
  • Bridging Communities, Inc., in Detroit.
  • Heritage Works, in Detroit.
  • Demographic Inspirations-Detroit, in Detroit.
  • The City of Toledo, in Toledo, Ohio.
  • Toledo-Lucas County Police Athletic League, in Toledo, Ohio.

Planning grants of $7,500 and $9,000 to:

  • NeighborWorks, in Toledo, Ohio.

"Recreational spaces are important elements in community life," said Beverly Smith, LISC's vice president for Sports & Recreation. "Vacant lots, on the other hand are usually community liabilities. LISC's collaboration with ESPN and Under Armour to help community organizations transform vacant lots into recreational spaces represents a win-win for residents and their neighborhoods."

About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplift the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society's needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations, and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship.

About Under Armour, Inc.
Under Armour, Inc., headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a leading inventor, marketer and distributor of branded athletic performance apparel, footwear and accessories. Powered by one of the world's largest digitally connected fitness and wellness communities, Under Armour's innovative products and experiences are designed to help advance human performance, making all athletes better. For further information, please visit https://about.underarmour.com.

About LISC
LISC equips struggling communities with the capital, program strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. It combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources. Since 1980, LISC has invested $20 billion to build or rehab 400,500 affordable homes and apartments and develop 67 million square feet of retail, community and educational space—including athletic facilities and other recreational spaces. For more, visit www.lisc.org.

Diane Lamb, ESPN

Beverly Smith, LISC

Erin Wendell, Under Armour









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