Surplus funds from the wildly successful 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles are again making a lot of Southland residents happy as 46 youth sports organizations in Southern California will share nearly $2 million in grants for more than 50,000 young athletes across the region, the LA84 Foundation announced Thursday.
“Sports really do make a difference, and LA84 is proud to support programs building up youth, both on and off the field of play,” LA84 President Renata Simril said. “Everyone deserves an opportunity to participate, and these grants will provide underserved youth with the chance to use sport as fuel for a healthy lifestyle and to learn the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.”
The foundation is providing more than $500,000 to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond The Bell program, which provides after-school sports opportunities at all 94 district middle schools.
The City of Los Angeles’ parks department will receive more than $70,000 to establish a girls’ softball program in 10 parks in the East L.A. and San Fernando Valley regions.
The Los Angeles United Futbol Academy was awarded $55,000 to provide scholarships for high school-age female participants in its development academy.
There had been widespread fears about the economic feasibility of holding the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 as previous Olympics had ended up costing their host cities millions. But the Los Angeles events were structured differently and ended up with significant surpluses. LA84 was created from some of those surplus funds to dole out benefits through the years to local athletic-related organizations mostly involving young people, and 32 years later the foundation is still giving grants.
“We are proud to partner with LA84 to provide opportunities for talented youth who otherwise couldn’t afford to hone their sports skills in elite play,” said Rocky Delgadillo, LAUFA founder and former Los Angeles city attorney. “Their legacy is unparalleled and the impact over the last 31 years continues to provide great benefit to communities who need it most.”
Students Run America, an after-school programs that mentors at-risk children and trains them to take part in the LA Marathon, will receive a $125,000 grant.
Special Olympics Southern California, which played a major role in celebrating the 2015 Special Olympics World Games last summer, will receive $85,000 to partner with schools to allow the participation of over 12,000 intellectually and physically challenged youth.
The Friends Of Expo Center was awarded $60,000 for the organization’s Learn-To-Swim program. The center will teach 3,000 Los Angeles youth to swim in the refurbished pool that was the site of the 1932 Olympic swim competition, near the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation will receive $40,000 to recruit and train youth football officials and develop a referee observation program for aspiring officials.
A legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games, the LA84 Foundation was launched in 1985 and has invested millions of dollars supporting youth sports throughout Southern California, from Santa Barbara to San Diego County.
—City News Service
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