Editorial: Grants to boost Latino sports participation a win for Park City | ParkRecord.com

Editorial: Grants to boost Latino sports participation a win for Park City

For many, access to world-class recreation is near the top of the list of why Park City is a great place to live. The opportunities are so plentiful, in fact, that it can be easy to take them for granted.

One group in our community, though, is often unable to take advantage like everyone else: young Latinos.

The reasons are many, according to local officials. Some come from families that can't afford equipment or participation fees. Others have responsibilities when they're not at school such as taking care of younger siblings, or they have difficulty finding transportation to and from games and practices.

Further, many simply don't know about the myriad recreation opportunities because outreach efforts to acquire participants have often neglected the Latino community.

Enter the Solomon Fund, an initiative from the Park City Community Foundation that aims to increase access to sports and recreation programs for Latino children. Its goal is to eventually make sure Latinos make up at least 21 percent of youth team and program rosters, which would match the student makeup of the Park City School District.

The fund, which has started a community-wide conversation since its founding nearly a year ago, can't do it alone. It's relying on recreation organizations and other community partners to move the ball forward and has already enlisted the help of nonprofits such as the Youth Sports Alliance, Park City Ice Arena and Basin Recreation.

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And now, the Solomon Fund is putting its money where its figurative mouth is. The initiative is offering grants of up to $25,000 for programs or ideas that will increase Latino participation in sports programs and create a more integrated community. The criteria are simple enough: Applicants must demonstrate how their ideas will work and that they can be reasonably implemented in the near-term. The window to apply runs through Friday.

Applications will hopefully flood in. The proposition is tough to beat. Organizations receive critical funding for ideas that will improve their programs, more Latino children get to take advantage of Park City's recreational opportunities, and our town becomes a more inclusive place.

Everyone knows that, in youth sports, wins and losses are less important than learning the fundamentals, having a great time and making friendships. But for Park City, the Solomon Fund and its grant program is a blowout victory.

The Solomon Fund is accepting grant applications through Friday, March 23. Information about the initiative, and how to submit an application, is available at http://parkcitycf.org/our-impact/other-programs/solomonfund/. The grants are scheduled to be announced April 30.