Youth Sports Alliance hands out yearly grants
The Youth Sports Alliance handed out its yearly grants and scholarships recently. Totaling more than $45,000, the grants benefit Park City’s many winter sports teams and the athletes involved in those programs.
But, according to Jim Gaddis, founder of the YSA and its former president and also a former U.S. Ski Team member, the $45,000 the organization withholds for scholarships each year needs to be increased.
"We’ve had requests for grants for about $150,000 and we’ve only got $45,000," he said.
The YSA scholarships go toward training costs, program and competitions fees, travel expenses, equipment and other various expenses associated with winter sports. Additional scholarships are used to defray costs for elementary students in YSA’s Get Out & Play program.
With more than a $100,000 difference between requests and available money, something needed to be done, Gaddis said. Thus, the Stein Eriksen Youth Sports Alliance Opportunity Endowment was born.
"It became necessary to have more than just $45,000," he said. "Hence, we thought about an endowment of some sort and connected with [late skiing legend] Stein [Eriksen]. I’d known Stein for a long, long time and he and I had always talked about doing something in his name. It made sense to do it with the Youth Sports Alliance.
"It started in April of 2014 with a goal to raise $2 million in two years. I think we’re now at about $1.8 million and we have until April to get it done and I think we will."
When all the money is raised, it will be invested. Gaddis said the interest accrued will be used for yearly scholarships.
"All those proceeds — just the earnings — will go toward that," he said. "Theoretically, if we can earn 5 percent, we’ll have another $100,000 to go with the $45,000, so we’ll have $150,000 or more if we do well. That’s all to give away for scholarships to needy kids to keep them off the street and off the couch and into winter sports. That’s what it’s all about."
The cause of keeping children involved in winter sports is near and dear to Gaddis’s heart and he said he’s proud to honor Eriksen’s legacy with an endowment that will continue to benefit Park City athletes for years to come.
"It’s really important to me," he said. "My background is in ski racing and, as a young kid, I didn’t have that kind of help. I know what kids and parents are going through. The cost of participating in some of the winter sports programs is very expensive. Anything we can do to help out is fabulous."
After the full $2 million is raised, Gaddis said he anticipates smaller fundraising efforts will be held to increase the amount of the endowment in order to help even more young athletes. He said he appreciates the support Park City has given to the project.
"It’s amazing to me that this town is so generous," he said. "Every week there seems to be a new charity or a new event. You can go to one a week if you want. People continue to support them. The National Ability Center’s Red, White & Snow is pretty much sold out and that’s not until March. It’s amazing."
To learn more about the Stein Eriksen Endowment, or to donate, visit http://www.ysaparkcity.org/stein-eriksen-endowment .
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