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Park City Community Foundation seeks help solving big problem

Effort aims to provide recreation opportunities for Latino children

Diego Zegarra, development and special projects manager for the Park City Community Foundation, is spearheading an effort to provide more recreation and sport opportunities for Latino children. The foundation is offering grants to people or organizations who have ideas that will help.
(Bubba Brown/Park Record)

The Park City Community Foundation has identified the lack of sport and recreation opportunities for Latino children from low-income families in the area as a major issue to be addressed.

Now, the nonprofit is turning to the community for help. The foundation recently issued a call for ideas to solve the problem. Diego Zegarra, the organization’s development and special projects manager, said he is hopeful nonprofits, businesses, government agencies and individuals will heed the request.

The foundation pledges to provide grant money through its Solomon Fund to turn the best ideas into reality.

“We think we have some good ideas, but it would be the height of hubris to think that we have all the answers,” Zegarra said. “So we decided to open it up. And there’s a precedent: Other communities have done this, too, where a project or initiative gets opened up. We believe that in the community, somewhere out there, there are people that want to help with this.”

The foundation’s efforts to address the problem are still in the early stages, but there is already traction, Zegarra said. At an event this spring, the organization signed up 113 Latino children for various recreational opportunities. And as more entities and people have learned about the initiative, enthusiasm has swelled, he said.

A number of organizations have already become involved in the effort, and the foundation is aiming to harness all of their resources and knowledge. Zegarra said the foundation has had more than 100 productive conversations with those organizations.

“The best thing about partnering with all these agencies is that everyone does things a little differently,” he said. “There are some best practices out there. So we are all sitting at a table and talking about what works and what doesn’t when engaging the Latino community. We’re sharing that so all of us can be more successful together. I think that’s one of the biggest positives about working in a collaboration instead of privately.”

Despite those partnerships, Zegarra is certain there are other ideas that haven’t been broached — hence the call to the community. The foundation is seeking Latino voices, in particular, to become more involved.

“I’d like to think that we are cutting edge with our collaborations and how we’re partnering with agencies,” he said. “But I’m sure there are more creative ideas out there that we can leverage. I think there’s an entrepreneurial spirit out there. We’re posing this challenge to the community, and the question is, ‘Can you help us?’”

Zegarra said the foundation is looking for ideas it can execute immediately, as well as ones that could be implemented in the next 12 to 18 months. Proposals can receive up to $50,000 in funding, though the foundation is also open to ideas that don’t require money to implement.

The hope is the effort can break down the obstacles keeping underprivileged Latino children from participating in Park City’s vibrant sport and recreation scene. Zegarra said there’s no reason a community like Park City can’t unite to fix the problem.

“The place is rich with opportunity,” he said. “I mean, Park City is brilliant for all sports and recreation opportunity. You just look outside and there are people mountain biking, running, playing soccer. But the Latino community faces a unique set of barriers.

“We want kids playing together,” he added. “They all go to the same schools, so can they participate in the same activities after school? That’s the task that we have to solve.”

For more information, visit parkcitycf.org. The process to submit an idea includes sending the foundation a one-page proposal or a five-minute video clip. Submissions must be emailed to Zegarra at diego@parkcitycf.org by July 28.


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