Laureus USA and Nike Team Up to Launch NYC Made to Play Neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx


The three-year, $1 million program will empower 10 community organizations across two neighborhoods to create access to sport and safe spaces for girls of color and women coaches of color.


New York, NY (October 24, 2022) – Nike and Laureus Sport for Good USA are proud to announce Made to Play NYC Neighborhoods in central Brooklyn and the South Bronx – a partnership with 10 grassroots play and sport organizations to increase access to sport and safe spaces for girls of color as well as support female coaches of color. This three-year, $1 million commitment was shared by Nike and Laureus USA leaders at a convening of the 10 organization partners at Nike’s NYC headquarters last week. The program will focus on girls, ages 7-14, and female coaches of color with the goal to increase access to sport and safe spaces for girls in and around Brownsville/East New York and Crotona/Morrisiana.

The initiative extends Nike’s place-based approach to create impact by helping to expand programs, nurture the health of young girls in the two communities and support the women coaches who engage the kids in these neighborhoods. Success of the initiative will be measured by increased access to sport for girls of color, coaches who feel supported and celebrated by their organization, and strengthened capacity of each community organization.

Place-Based Approach to Engage Girls from the Start

Research emphasizes the importance of sport and play in developing healthy kids and thriving communities. Yet according to insights from the Tucker Center and the Aspen Institute, girls are less likely to participate in sport and drop out at faster rates. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded sports access issues, limiting access to traditional support structures and disproportionately affecting under-resourced Black and brown communities, especially in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The trauma of the pandemic, related to and exacerbated by generations of systemic racism, still manifests today in disparate racialized outcomes at the community district level in each borough. Together, these twin traumas demonstrate the need to create more and amplify existing healing-centered spaces in neighborhoods in New York City.

Creating a Community of Practice

Laureus USA and Nike identified ten non-profit organizations (listed below) that already support kids in their communities as a core group to help increase girls’ access to sport. This place-based social impact strategy provides multi-year general operating funding to participating organizations alongside a needs-based capacity building program and a ‘Community of Practice’ team of leaders. In addition to the 10 core organizations, two additional partners, PeacePlayers and America Scores NY, who are existing Nike and Laureus USA grantees, will also participate.

“Our Sport for Good Cities model has shown that place-based, collaborative approaches have tremendous potential to help sports-based youth development organizations and the youth they serve thrive,” said Peter Feldman, Laureus USA’s Director of Programs. “We are thrilled to work with a partner like Nike that values learning along with our practitioner partners.”

Centering Girls’ Experience Around Inclusive Coaching

Organizational leaders first began meeting in February 2022 to explore how sports-based youth development programs can better recruit, train, support and celebrate coaches, particularly female coaches of color. The learnings centered around how resources to support coaches — including pay — are vital to coach recruitment, retention, and support. Nike and Laureus USA are excited to announce their commitment to provide additional coach funding support to the ten grantees. These supplemental funds will help organizations support their coaches, particularly women coaches of color — and can be used for pay raises, new positions, and additional training opportunities that build competency, confidence and community.

“At Nike, we’re taking action to create a better world, by expanding sport for a new generation. All kids are made to play, but access still isn’t the same for everyone. That’s why we’re partnering with Laureus USA to give girls in central Brooklyn and south Bronx the opportunity to reach their potential through play and sport,” said Matt Geschke, North America Senior Director of Social & Community Impact for NIKE, Inc. “Made to Play NYC Neighborhoods is about creating place-based impact and transformative change – we’re championing leaders across 10 community organizations, who know their communities best, to go further together, so all kids living there have access to sport and play opportunities.”

Participating Organizations

South Bronx:

  • Grand Slam Bronx Foundation – provides underprivileged children and youth with healthy and safe alternatives in organized sports
  • I Challenge Myself – provides opportunities for public school students to strengthen their bodies, minds and spirits through our school-based fitness programs
  • Legacy Volleyball – provides year-round Volleyball training and youth programs, which help youth achieve their athletic, social and academic goals
  • Mary Mitchell Center – improves the lives of youth and families living in the Crotona section of the Bronx through programs that expand opportunities, develop leadership, and build community
  • We Got Next Sports – mission is to positively influence the lives of young people through the vehicle of sports by teaching the value of teamwork and the importance of discipline, hard work, and responsibility
  • America Scores NY (existing grantee participant) – seeks to create equitable opportunities for young people to experience sport, express themselves and inspire positive change off the field and outside the classroom

Central Brooklyn:

  • Brooklyn Youth Sports Club – assists Brooklyn youth in their pursuit of college enrollment using basketball as the hook for academic engagement and character development
  • Grow Our Game – empowers the next generation of young girls to become fierce, amazing leaders through confidence, passion & community impact, all while learning the game of basketball
  • Jeuness Track Club – assist girls ages 5 – 17 in becoming accomplished athletes, able to move on to the collegiate level and complete their education with the aid of athletic scholarships
  • PISTE Academy – introduces under-resourced communities in NYC to the sport of fencing and its principles of fitness, discipline, focus, strategic thinking and problem-solving
  • We Run Brownsville – aims to promote health and wellness among women of color living in Brownsville through a walk to run program
  • PeacePlayers Brooklyn (existing grantee participant) – provides opportunities for young people in Brownsville to lead a movement for peace and equity through basketball


About Laureus Sport for Good USA

Laureus USA is a non-profit, grant-making organization that works to improve the lives of youth and unite communities through the power of sport. Since 2012, we have impacted the lives of over one million youth by investing $20 million in sports-based youth development organizations around the country that unleash the power of sport to enhance physical and mental health, improve educational and employment outcomes, and address critical social justice issues. We have also provided trainings focused on positive youth development and social-emotional learning for over 14,000 coaches. Laureus USA is a member of the global Laureus network, which includes 7 National Laureus Sport for Good Foundations, 1 Global Foundation, the Laureus World Sports Academy (and Ambassadors), and the Laureus World Sports Awards. Learn more about Sport for Good at


About Nike Social & Community Impact

Nike believes in the transformative power of sport to help move the world forward and create change. To help create a more equitable and inclusive world, Nike is tackling systemic inequality through its commitment to getting kids active and building inclusive communities. The company is empowering adults to welcome all kids to play through community partnerships and coaching resources. And it’s teaming up with organizations and our employees around the world – to rewrite the playbook so everyone can win in life. Learn more about Social & Community Impact as part of Nike’s Purpose.


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