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LISC/ESPN Home Court Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Schools in Multiple States
to Improve Basketball Courts in Low-Income Areas

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Deadline Date:

09/18/20 Receipt


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Grants of up to $25,000 to Massachusetts, Texas, Colorado, and California nonprofit community-based organizations, middle schools, and high schools in eligible cities to enhance the quality of local basketball courts. Funding is intended for capital improvements to basketball courts within low- and moderate-income communities in Boston, MA; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; and Sacramento, CA. The LISC/ESPN Home Court Program seeks to redress the shortage of clean, safe and accessible basketball courts in low and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Nonprofit neighborhood-based organizations can play a leading role in the improvement of existing or creation of new athletic courts. With experience in both real estate development and community building, many of these organizations possess the capacity to address both the capital aspects of athletic court development and the program elements (i.e. youth basketball leagues, sports tournaments, science fairs, summer festivals, community celebrations, and after-school events). 

Equally important to this experience, neighborhood-based organizations have connections to their community that legitimize their operations and draw resident support for their work. If local residents have a sense of ownership and see themselves as stakeholders in the creation and maintenance of athletic courts, these community assets are more likely to be protected and preserved for long-term use. The LISC/ESPN Home Court Program is intended not only to respond to the immediate shortage of athletic courts, but also to build an infrastructure through partnerships and resident involvement that will sustain these open spaces for community use.

For information about selection criteria, see:

Capital improvements refer to the physical development of the courts and its surrounding amenities. Such projects may include, but are not limited to, new or renovated court flooring, bleachers, public address systems, fences, backboards, basketball netting/hoops, and scoreboards.  

A minimum three-year maintenance plan and corresponding financial budget must be provided in order to demonstrate that the applying organization will maintain the court despite projected wear and tear and potential overuse by youth sports participants. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163403

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $25,000

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

In order to be eligible for a grant under the Program, projects must be sponsored by nonprofit community-based organizations registered as exempt from Federal Income Tax under Internal Revenue Service Code Section 501(c)(3) or middle or high schools.

To be eligible for the LISC/ESPN Home Court Program, organizations applying for grant funds must meet all of the criteria listed below:
-Be a community-based organization, middle school or high school, serving a neighborhood consisting primarily of low and moderate-income families and individuals. Please note: schools must demonstrate the ability of the community to also utilize the court; universities and college campuses are not eligible to apply and will not be considered for funding.
-Have at least one full-time staff person (all-volunteer organizations will not be considered);
-Be in existence for at least three years;
-Have a proven track record in real estate development and parks or youth programming;
-Have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status/school status; and
-Be located in one of the eligible markets.

Public agencies (other than public schools) may not apply for grants from the Program. However, community-based nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) designation, middle schools and high schools meeting all other organizational criteria, and private schools with 501(c) (3) designation may apply to make improvements on courts owned and managed by public sector entities (e.g. City, Parks and Recreation Departments, etc.).

In those cases, the applicant must show evidence that (1) the public entity supports the proposal; (2) the public entity authorizes the applicant to carry out the proposed capital improvements (this authorization must take into account relevant labor/union regulations and liability issues); (3) the public entity demonstrates its financial commitment to court maintenance; and (4) the court is open to and used by the community for organized athletics and other events through joint use agreements.

Funds from the Program may not be used to maintain court surfaces, as all grant funds must be used for capital expenditures.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Applicants are invited to view the webinar in which ESPN introduces the grant initiative and gives pointers on what it takes to give your proposal the best shot at success. LISC staff break down the RFP process, funding criteria and answer questions. This session was conducted using ReadyTalk.

Note: You must have Flash installed on your browser in order to view this recording.

More information about the webinar and a recording may be found here:

Pre-Application Information:

Proposals are due by September 18, 2020.

The LISC/ESPN Home Court Program requires a minimum local match of one dollar for every LISC/ESPN Program dollar (1:1). For example, if the proposal requests $25,000 from the LISC/ESPN Home Court Program, it must demonstrate sources for at least $25,000 in local funds. Proposals must, therefore demonstrate total funding sources to cover the costs of the entire project. Match funding at a higher ratio will strengthen the proposal.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Email submissions to:

Direct questions to:
Beverly Smith
(212) 455-9881

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Sacramento;   Colorado: Denver;   Massachusetts: Boston;   Texas: Dallas

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