Park City Community Foundation’s RISE Fund aims to increase access to extracurricular activities for underserved students
Goal is to broaden extracurricular access to all high school students
About four years ago, the Park City Community Foundation was approached by a community member with a proposition.
Youth sports and other extracurriculars at the elementary age level were not representative of the diversity in the school system, the community member pointed out. At issue was the potential barrier to entry for Latino families in Park City who could not afford to participate. The Solomon Fund was created to address that issue.
Now, the foundation is aiming to broaden access even further with the RISE Fund, whose goal is to ensure extracurricular high school programs include Park City students of all socioeconomic and racial/cultural backgrounds.
Sarah MacCarthy, community impact manager at Park City Community Foundation, said the RISE Fund — recreation, inclusion, sports and extracurriculars — was a natural extension of the Solomon Fund.
“It’s all about eliminating barriers to access,” she said. “And now to further increase access across a bigger age range.”
The need for the fund is clear, advocates say. Sports and after-school activities at Park City High School can range in cost from $100 to more than $1,000. By the foundation’s estimation, about 1/3 of the PCHS student body is unable to fully participate in extracurriculars.
“Now more than ever, it’s essential to create opportunities for student connection both inside and outside of school walls,” MacCarthy said. “The pandemic has caused isolation across our community. We believe this initiative will not only increase access to activities at the high school but also help facilitate healthy relationships and healthy minds.”
MacCarthy said outreach has been a major part of the rollout of the RISE Fund since it was announced in January. In that, they’ve had some help from their intern, Sheccid Villanueva, a Park City High School student who has worked hard to raise awareness.
And those efforts are working. MacCarthy said in the two months since the RISE Fund was announced, 37 PCHS students have applied for aid. That’s 37 students who would not otherwise have been able to participate in their preferred sport or activity who now may have the opportunity.
“We weren’t really sure how many students would take advantage this first semester, but this shows we’re on the right path,” MacCarthy said. “Word is getting out and we’ve already had an amazing response.”
More information about the RISE Fund is available at parkcitycf.org.
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