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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:

01/31/18 Receipt


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Grants of up to $25,000 to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and California nonprofit community-based organizations, middle schools, and high schools to enhance the accessibility, safety, and quality of local basketball courts. Funding is available for capital improvements to basketball courts within low- and moderate-income communities in designated market areas.

Proposals will be evaluated based on the extent to which they: (1) seek to upgrade existing facilities that are in poor condition or otherwise underutilized; (2) demonstrate active use of the basketball courts; (3) attract matching funding that exceeds the minimum required match of 1:1; (4) involve local partnerships with nonprofit community partners (e.g., USA Basketball, NBA Cares, Parks and Recreation Departments, YMCA branches, Boys and Girls Clubs, PAL, etc.) in order to promote youth sports safety and community programming on the courts; and (5) provide for continuing maintenance and athletic court safety. As noted above, grants are given only for capital expenditures.

LISC-ESPN Home Court Program Objectives:

Athletic courts can serve as tremendous community assets by offering opportunities for recreation, education, and relaxation that contribute to the health and local quality of life within the local community. 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.

Availability of Funding:

General Athletic Court Support: applicants may submit requests funding capital projects that can include: the installation/refurbishment of basketball court flooring, hoops, nets, backboards, scoreboards, bleachers, and fencing. 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. Funds from the Program may not be used to maintain court surfaces, as all grant funds must be used for capital expenditures.

Organizations and their projects will be selected for funding based upon the following criteria:

1. Feasibility of the proposed project. The project budget must be based upon realistic costs, preferably written contractor’s estimates.

2. Project readiness. Sources of funding for the entire project budget should be identified. Plans for court renovation should take into account the schedule of recreation activities over the course of the year. A project timeline should be specified in the proposal.

3. Impact upon neighborhood and support from the community. Only proposals that locate projects in low and moderate-income communities will be considered. The proposal should clearly state how the court improvements would benefit the community. It also must clearly detail how many youth and adults make use of the court for basketball and for other activities. Moreover, the proposal must also include a projected increase in the number of people that will use the facility as a result of the LISC/ESPN Home Court Program improvements. Support letters from other neighborhood and partner organizations and joint use agreements (where applicable) must be included as well as contact information for the youth basketball organizations and high school basketball programs scheduled to use the courts.

4. Security of future court maintenance and safety. Proposals must have written commitments of maintenance funding for a minimum of three years and a detailed three-year maintenance plan in order to demonstrate that the applicant will maintain the court despite projected wear and tear and potential overuse by youth sports participants. As a reminder, LISC/ESPN court funds may not be used to maintain court surfaces, as all grant funds must be used for capital expenditures.

5. Capacity of organization and its partners to carry out project. The applicant organization must demonstrate, through its current management team and previous experience, the ability to manage a project of this size and nature.

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.

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.

In addition, all organizations applying for funds must serve low to moderate-income areas located specifically and exclusively within the following markets: Philadelphia, PA, Milwaukee, WI, Houston, TX, Memphis, TN, Atlanta, GA, and Los Angeles, CA.

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.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Applicants are invited to view the webinar in which ESPN introduces the newest 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.

Topics of Discussion:
-Eligibility Criteria: Markets, Non-Profit Status, Experience
-Selection Criteria: Match Funding, Project Scope
-Application Procedures

This webinar is intended for:
-Youth Recreation Administrators
-Middle School and High School Administrators
-Community Development Corporations and Community Based Organizations
-LISC Staff

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:

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.

Proposals are due by January 31, 2018.

Contact Information:

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

If you have questions regarding this RFP, please contact:

Beverly Smith
(212) 455-9881

Email submissions to:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Los Angeles;   Georgia: Atlanta;   Pennsylvania: Philadelphia;   Tennessee: Memphis;   Texas: Houston;   Wisconsin: Milwaukee