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"Sports 4 Life" Grants Aim to Increase African-American and Hispanic Girls Participation in Youth Sports

The Women's Sports Foundation (WSF), and national partner espnW, have announced the 2015 grantees for its "Sports 4 Life" initiative, a national effort to increase the participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls in youth sports programs. WSF has awarded $110,000 in funding to 22 grantees to serve more than 6,800 middle and high school girls across the nation.

The link between sports participation and the prevention of chronic diseases, like diabetes, obesity, depression and cardiovascular diseases is well-established, especially for African-American and Hispanic females who display lower rates of participation than their peers. By making sports more accessible, Sports 4 Life gives young females the chance to learn the foundational benefits of sports, such as leadership, confidence, self-esteem, and perseverance.

"We have seen the positive impact that playing sports has on the health and wellness of girls on a global and national level, as well as overall self-esteem and confidence that carries over into the classroom," said Laura Gentile, vice president of espnW. "Through this collaboration with Women's Sports Foundation, espnW has an opportunity to reach young girls who have yet to be introduced to the power of sports and show them how sports can be their toolkit for achieving success in all aspects of life."

"At ESPN, we're inspired everyday by the countless stories of women and girls whose lives have been impacted through sports," added Christine Driessen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, ESPN, and WSF board member. "We've been proud to work hand-in-hand with the Women's Sports Foundation for many years to help advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity."

In its first year, the Women's Sports Foundation and espnW grant will help organizations to create or expand developmental youth sports programs serving predominately girls of color.

Visit the Sports 4 Life site to learn more about these grantees. And check out the video below to see Sports 4 Life in action.