Youth Sports Alliance creates endowment fund
April 8, 2014
Goals for the Stein Eriksen YSA Opportunity Endowment are threefold:
"We have so many reasons to be proud of winter sports in our community," said Geoff Buchheister, president of the Youth Sports Alliance board of directors. "From our world-class venues, to the recent success of Park City’s own at the Olympics in Sochi, the Park City community is capitalizing on the values and culture that Stein Eriksen helped bring to our little town years ago. In honor of Stein, the endowment will ensure that the youth of Park City will be given the opportunity to chase their dreams."
The YSA is a nonprofit organization founded in 2002 following the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. Started as a legacy for local youth, the YSA supports 13 youth winter sports teams, 1,000 competitive junior athletes and 1,000 Get Out & Play elementary school students. Its scholarship program donates over $50,000 per year to individuals and its grant program donates over $250,000 per year to teams.
Over the past 12 years, the Alliance has become extremely aware of the need for financial assistance to both encourage participation and maintain access to winter sports programs in the Park City community. Currently, 22 percent of Park City community youths are on the Free & Reduced Lunch program and more than 3,600 "cost burdened" households (paying more than 30 percent of income on living expenses and earning less than $50,000 per year) reside in the local area. The 2013 YSA scholarship athlete family median income was $47,000 per year.
"Each year, additional funds for individuals to participate in YSA programs are requested, but not awarded due to lack of funds," said Aimee Preston, YSA executive director. " providing additional funding through strong partnerships, like this one with Deer Valley Resort, we hope to create opportunities for all local youths to participate in winter sports and take advantage of the extraordinary winter sport assets available in our community."
On Friday night, April 4, over 150 people attended the formal launch of the Endowment hosted by Deer Valley at Silver Lake Lodge. The evening event had several highlights that were enthusiastically received by the gathering. Campaign Ambassador Jim Gaddis announced the goal of the Endowment is to raise $2 million over the next two years and it is off to a fast start with over $600,000 of pledges secured prior to the Friday night launch. Olympic gold-medalist Ted Ligety spoke of his fond memories of growing up in Park City and being a member of the Park City Ski Team. Olympic gold and silver medalist Billy Demong added that the YSA is a unique organization within the U.S. winter sport communities and Park City and its Olympic heritage are ideal for developing not only world-class champions but also providing lifelong lessons for all youths.
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To learn more about the Stein Eriksen YSA Opportunity Endowment, contact Aimee Preston at YSA 435-214-0792 or the YSA web site at wwww.ysaparkcity.org.