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Building inclusivity one sport at a time

The Park City Community Foundation's newly named Youth United Fund looks to increase diversity in youth sports.
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The Park City Community Foundation's newly named Youth United Fund looks to increase diversity in youth sports.

The Park City Community Foundation’s new program, called Youth United, combines the power of two funding sources into one to help under-served kids have access to sports and other extra-curricular activities.

The Park City Community Foundation announced Sunday it was combining the Solomon Fund and the RISE Fund in what it called a “one-of-a-kind” program in Utah that will also serve as a national model.

The Solomon Fund, started eight years ago, to increase participation in local youth activities for children in elementary and middle school to reflect the area’s demographics. It inspired another local couple to fund the RISE Fund to ensure similar opportunities were offered to high school students.

Combined, the funding totals about $300,000 a year, which includes directed donations and grants.

According to the foundation’s Vice President of Equity and Impact Diego Zegarra, participation of the Latino population has significantly increased in local youth recreation programs.

“Our goal was for these activities to mirror the representation in the school district. So roughly 20% of the students identify as Latino. We wanted to see a more complete community, we wanted to see belonging and inclusion happening. And that's what we've seen by the numbers. We're looking at about 18 - 19% representation in the partners that we offer grants to. Last year, it was 22 of them [the partners]. And it's incredibly promising.”

Foundation Equity and Access Manager José Chacón says the funding is available for anyone – not just Latinos – who may experience financial barriers to playing sports.

“That's where we see a lot of the need, but really any kid that needs any financial assistance to access sports and recreation activities, we're there, but we particularly see the need in Latino community.

There are more than 30 youth programs to participate in, including, dance, boxing, skiing, and soccer.

Chacón says the program funding not only reduces costs for sport programs, it also is used for outreach and communications to Latino families to make it easier to sign up for programs by offering registration in Spanish.

Zegarro says the community foundation partners with 30 different local organizations and offers them grants based on the number of participants. The funds are passed on to the students in the form of a scholarship. Organizations can apply for these grants once a year.

“We have a committee of community members from different backgrounds helping us make the determinations on how to allocate those dollars,” Zegarra said. “So, organizations get to apply, and the committee looks at the amount of dollars that we have and how an organization is working, what kind of scholarships they're offering, and how many kids they can take in.”

Interested in signing up your child for a program? Contact José Chacón at 385-450-8291or jose@parkcitycf.org

¿Interesado en inscribir a su niño en un programa? Póngase en contacto con José Chacón al 385-450-8291 o jose@parkcitycf.org

Park City High School students who are interested in receiving financial support for sports and extracurricular activities, can fill out this registration form or contact Junior Vieyra at 435.714.2820 or junior@parkcitycf.org.