Recent Grants

2018 Trustee Grants

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

  •   Website:
  •   Contact: Carla Knapp | | 207.299.3078
  •   Grant amount: $15,000
  •   Trustee sponsor: Andra Rush

Native American youth have long experienced greater health disparities and lower life expectancy due to poverty, geographic isolation and cultural marginalization. Through its health and wellness programs, Boys & Girls Clubs work directly with youth living in Indian Country to promote healthy lifestyles with a focus on becoming more physically active, eating well and improving confidence and interpersonal skills. With funding from NRF, Boys & Girls Clubs of America will provide Native youth with the opportunity to participate in a baseball or softball league. This program promotes healthy lifestyles, positive behavior, and positive self-perception among participating Native youth. 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington

NRF funding supports the creation and operation of Healthy Lifestyles Programming at the Club based in Bloomington, Indiana. Funding will go specifically to recreational programs (basketball, baseball, softball, wiffle ball) that pair youth one-on-one with mentors and coaches in the new Crestmont Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington, which opening in the fall of 2017. 

Brooklyn Charter School

NRF funding supports the creation of the Brooklyn Charter W.E.A.L.T.H.Y. Program. The competitive nature of charter schools in NYC results in pressure to fill school days with a rigorously tight academic program.  As such, children lack the physical and mental activity necessary to keep them sharp and fit at a young age. Brooklyn Charter School (BCS) seeks to offer its children a physical wellness program that provides an opportunity to expose them to healthy habits now that will help them develop and maintain a lifelong enjoyment of health, exercise and fitness.  Through this new program, BCS is creating a wellness-based physical education environment where the focus is on developing healthy, active lifestyle habits with regular, individual exercise and proper nutrition, while most importantly, having FUN to increase the quality and longevity of children's lives. Children participate in 20 weeks of fitness, yoga, organized sport and wellness instruction after school. 

The Bridge Teen Center

NRF funding supports Healthy Living Programs for Teens at The Bridge Teen Center (BTC) in Orland Park, Illinois. With more than 40% of suburban Cook County teens struggling with obesity, healthy living is a core part of BTC’s goal to offer programs that are designed around the interests and needs of suburban teens. Designed around the interests of teens, these programs promote active and healthy living. The objectives of the program include: educating suburban teens about healthier cooking and eating choices, making physical activity an ongoing focus for teens in the suburbs, and providing programs and social outlets designed to help reduce stress. BTC accomplishes these objectives by providing free ongoing programs addressing these subjects throughout the year.

Chicago Parks Golf Alliance

The Chicago Parks Golf Alliance is leading the restoration of the South Shore and Jackson Park golf courses on Chicago's South Side where it is building youth programs and to creating the standard for sustainable urban golf. NRF support funds ASCEND - Helping Youth Reach New Summits, which encompasses caddy training, youth golf programs and therapeutic programs for Chicago youth at these iconic South Side golf courses.

Cobscook Community Learning Center

  •  Website:
  •  Contact: Kara McCrimmon | | 207.733.2233
  •  Grant amount: $30,000
  •  Trustee sponsor: Kathryn A. Porter

Located in easternmost Maine, Cobscook Community Learning Center (CCLC) creates responsive educational opportunities that strengthen personal, community, and global well-being. NRF funding supports its Cobscook Experiential Programs. CCLC launched Cobscook Experiential Program in 2010 as a one-year accredited alternative to traditional high school in Washington County. Beginning in fall 2017, Cobscook will exist as a four-year public school option. In addition to the academic year program, Cobscook runs the Machias River Conservation Camp, a rigorous two-week wilderness immersion and environmental restoration experience for youth ages 13-17, and offers a way for Cobscook students to extend expeditionary learning into the summer. With this funding, Cobscook will extend its expeditionary programming for high school aged youth, support professional development for its staff, and enhance the evaluation process of its programs.

Colorado Youth Outdoors

Colorado Youth Outdoors (CYO) was founded because of the recognition that families often struggle to connect with each other. Research shows that outdoor recreational activities provide an ideal environment for youth, their parents and other significant adults to strengthen their relationships. A growing body of research notes that time outdoors benefit a child physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively. CYO supports community organizations through its Core and Outreach Programming using traditional outdoor recreation activities and relationship building tools. Programming targets struggling schools, at-risk youth, youth/parents with disabilities, and veterans. 

Detroit Police Athletic League, Inc.

  •   Website:
  •   Contact: Andrea Ray | |    313.833.1600
  •   Grant amount: $30,000
  •   Trustee sponsor: Joseph B. Anderson, Jr.

Detroit has one of the highest homicide rates of any major US city. Survey data collected at Detroit PAL summer camps revealed that there is a high perception among youth that persons in their communities do not respect police officers. To this end, the Detroit Police Department and Detroit PAL partnered to create the Team Up program. The Team Up program uses fun recreational opportunities that attract kids and families, while helping to bridge the gap between youth and police officers in Detroit. The program works by pairing trained Detroit Police Officers with youth athletic teams to act as an assistant coach and mentor. The program is helping kids to see officers in a positive light and is forming mutual respect among youth and officers. 

Elevate Phoenix

Nearly two-thirds of Arizona students' education and future are at risk because their reading skills at below proficiency. As a result, 18,000 Arizona students drop out each year. Additionally, over 30% of Arizona’s youth are overweight or obese, resulting in health-related absenteeism. NRF funding supports the Academic Success and Fitness Through Sports Program dedicated to improving the literacy skills, fitness, health, and self-confidence of at-risk Arizona youth in grades 2-12. 

Cincinnati Squash Academy

NRF funding supports the ability of Cincinnati Squash Academy (CSA) to increase the number of youth it engages annually in its program. CSA serves low-income, at-risk children from the Over the Rhine neighborhood to help them get to and through college via intensive squash, academics, community service, character development and cultural exposure.

First Baptist Church of Waukegan

The Cool Learning Experience (CLE) fosters the well-being of the whole child in healthy relationship with family, community and the natural world. CLE's primary focus is an 8-week nature-based, hands-on environmental summer learning program for children in grades 3-8. Using outdoors as the primary classroom, the staff provides an interdisciplinary curriculum integrating science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), geography, social science and writing. Collaborations with environmental groups, conservation organizations, colleges and universities, and local, state and federal agencies provide resources and personnel to support the curriculum delivery. CLE serves children with diverse needs, including academic, economic and social-emotional challenges. The primarily Latino and African-American participants face multiple social factors which combine to undermine healthy child development. 

Forest Preserve Foundation

Funding from NRF allows the Forest Preserve Foundation to expand its team of Youth Outdoor Ambassadors (YOAs). YOAs will develop new nature play programming at Dan Ryan Woods in Chicago, specifically for the Tree House, a key feature at the site. The YOAs (ages 16-20) create and deliver a curriculum based in play, exploration, adventure, creativity and citizen science to introduce youth and families to the beauty and value of the Forest Preserves. The YOA interns gain the confidence and leadership skills to positively their influence peers to explore nature and to encourage their families and communities to visit, explore and enjoy all the preserves have to offer. 

Georgia FIRST Robotics

  •  Website:
  •   Contact: Connie Haynes | | 888.436.5833
  •   Grant amount: $30,000
  •   Trustee sponsor: Timothy L. Richardson

Social recreation in the area of STEM, particularly in the underserved areas of Georgia, has a strong impact on low-performing or at-risk students. Unfortunately, females and minorities have the lowest representation in the area of STEM, given the current model of exposure to STEM in the classroom. FIRST Robotics is the largest STEM-based after school program for students K-12 in the United States. FIRST Robotics is designed to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. NRF funding supports the expansion of this program, with an emphasis on girls and minority enrollment.

Haven for Hope of Bexar County

Haven for Hope is dedicated to transforming the lives of homeless men, women, and children in the San Antonio/Bexar County area by addressing the root causes of homelessness. This grant provides enriching recreational activities for the children living at Haven for Hope, who would otherwise be unable to afford them. Annually, approximately 300 children experiencing homelessness will live on the Haven for Hope Campus with their families. 

Heart of the City

Many families in Lake County, Illinois face significant socioeconomic challenges to enrolling their children in organized sports, an activity that can change the trajectory of young lives. Hispanic girls, in particular, must overcome many obstacles. Culturally, the community views soccer as "a boy's sport," and that girls are not physically strong enough for its challenges. Young Latinas struggle to navigate between their own desire to play, their family's customs and expectations, and the cost of participation. Heart of the City hopes to help families realize that soccer is a powerful path for development for all young people. The Empowered to Play project will build upon an existing successful program model to target girls ages 7 to 13, providing them with new opportunities to realize their true potential. Increasing Heart of the City’s capacity to recruit and coordinate high-quality soccer experiences, this project will help local girls at all levels of play in recreation and travel leagues become competitive on the field, successful in the classroom and productive in the community.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation

Winning in Life is the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation’s signature program, and it forms the basis of how participating youth develop into productive, problem solving, ACTIVE adults. The program provides an opportunity for youth and teens to grow socially, emotionally, and physically by having fun and being active. Through Winning in Life, student athletes from 5 -18 years of age participate in a 14 week curriculum developed, designed by Jackie Joyner-Kersee herself. The curriculum teaches thirteen principles and focuses on increasing discipline, determination, self-esteem, goal setting and goal attainment. NRF's grant support the expansion and enhancement of Winning in Life into all of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation summer and after school programs.

Jubilee Consortium

Low-income communities in Los Angeles are plagued with inordinately high rates of chronic disease (type-II diabetes, obesity, etc.). Youth are particularly at risk of joining these statistics. Jubilee’s approach in addressing this problem is to provide: 1) classes in nutrition; 2) affordable fitness opportunities; and 3) programs that promote leadership development. NRF funding supports Jubilee Jump, an extension of these efforts to change the health paradigm in these communities. By establishing a jump rope league based in low-income neighborhoods around L.A., Jubilee aims to help youth (ages 8-16): become healthier through regular physical activity and exercise, learn valuable skills that be applied to other areas of their lives, and develop important leadership abilities. 

Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia, Inc.

Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia, Inc. offers STEM programming to 150 students in grades pre-K through eighth grade in the Tioga community of north Philadelphia. Areas of emphasis include environmental science, engineering, robotics and aquaponics.

The Nature Conservancy of Illinois

  •   Website:
  •   Contact: Karen Tharp | | 312.580.2105
  •   Grant amount: $15,000
  •   Trustee sponsor: James R. Donnelley

The Burnham Wildlife Corridor (BWC) is a 100-acre ribbon of urban wilderness running along Chicago’s south lakefront. This area is home to various native habitats and serves as an important pathway for pollinators and migratory birds. Adjacent to this ecological gem are the communities struggling in the face of inequity, discrimination and poverty. Although people living in these communities live within a few miles of the BWC, they feel disconnected from this natural asset and do not have the resources to access and/or utilize it as an outdoor classroom. This project addresses this gap. With NRF's funding, TNC is providing local educators and community leaders the training, resources and field experiences to connect 400 at-risk youth to the BWC through stewardship of the land and citizen science, building ambassadors for nature and a sense of place and community.

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra

  • Website:
  • Contact: Kevin Gifford | | 215.545.0502
  • Grant amount: $30,000
  • Trustee sponsor: Josephine J. Templeton

Tune Up Philly (TUP), a community engagement program of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, provides after-school instrumental music instruction to youth ages 6-14 in Philadelphia’s most under-resourced communities. As Philadelphia struggles to provide adequate arts education opportunities to its most challenged neighborhoods, TUP fills vulnerable after-school time with intensive group lessons, rehearsals and performance opportunities totaling over 4,000 hours of instruction time throughout a one year cycle. With NRF suppport, TUP operates in 10 teaching sites and implements expanded Saturday program and summer engagement offerings which include a wind ensemble, string ensemble, and advanced chamber group.

River LA

River LA believes the 51-mile Los Angeles River (LA River) is a public space that can inspire and enrich people’s lives through community programming. With NRF support, River LA is engaging local high school students in the recreational activation of the LA River. There are a number of low income and disadvantaged communities along the LA River who feel excluded from community revitalization. To bridge this gap, River LA seeks to train high school students from the Elysian Valley and South Gate communities in human-centered design so they can develop creative activations demonstrating the LA River’s recreational benefits and its role in improving the health of the region. Activations facilitate creative patterns of use of public space, such as running, walking, relays, dancing, yoga, sports, workout classes, and more. Once the students complete the training, River LA will organize a selection process to pick and support four winning concepts from the local high schools that best exemplify recreational benefits.

SeriousFun Children’s Network

SeriousFun Children’s Network was founded by Paul Newman and is a global community of camps and programs for children with serious illness and their families. Camp Korey is member in the SeriousFun Children’s Network, and it provides programs that serve children throughout Washington and the Northwest region. NRF funding supports equipment and staffing for recreation activities at Camp Korey.

South Eastern Michigan Indians, Inc.

  •   Website:
  •   Contact: Euphemia Parrish Franklin | | 586.756.1350
  •   Grant amount: $15,000
  •   Trustee sponsor: Andra Rush

American Indian youth experience significantly higher rates of Type 2 diabetes and commercial tobacco use than the national average. NRF funding supports programming on prevention, exercise, healthy eating, including gardening. Each meeting includes cultural teachings from an American Indian Elder based on the Seven Grandfather Teachings.

Susan L. Curtis Charitable Foundation

Over 31,000 Maine schoolchildren live in poverty and are at great risk for negative life outcomes. Camp Susan Curtis (CSC) is a summer camp that exclusively serves low-income Maine youth. NRF funding allows the camp to upgrade its Challenge Ropes Course. The ropes course drives positive outcomes for in-need youth, providing recreational and skill-building opportunities that keep them engaged and returning to CSC year-after-year to navigate the transition from at-risk childhood to independent adulthood. 

Voyager Youth Program

Voyager Youth Program is a Colorado licensed elementary-aged child care facility and teen center, serving Ouray County youth. The After-School Enrichment Program serves children ages 5-12, through enriching, fun activities designed to enhance all stages of physical, mental, and social/emotional development. The Summer Enrichment Program serves children ages 5-12, through adventure/experiential weekly themed programs. Some examples are: Rock Climbing Week, Wild West Week, Tribal Nations Week, and Space Week. Each week also includes swimming, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Voyager Youth Program also houses, supervises, and monitors the TEEN CENTER, which serves youth ages 13-18, as a community drop-in center with a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, a full kitchen, snacks and community service opportunities.

West End Neighborhood Association

  •   Contact: Mary Ellen Warner   | | 870.932.0338
  •   Grant amount: $20,000
  •   Trustee sponsor: Robert A. Stuart, Jr.

The West End Neighborhood Association of Jonesboro, Arkansas serves an area with 1700 homes, a library, the Hispanic Community Services Center, multiple businesses, and several churches. It includes historical homes and buildings in addition to the oldest playground/ball field in the city. The West End Neighborhood Association's mission is to promote safety, quality, stability, vitality and beauty. NRF funding supports a Community Garden Project for third graders from the MicroSociety Magnet School during the school year, as well as summer camp.

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

NRF funding supports Wolf Ridge's multi-year S.E.A.K. (Scientists Eagerly Acquiring Knowledge) program. S.E.A.K. builds long-term peer-to-peer and peer-to-mentor relationships with an experiential approach to learning to support academic success, lifelong connections to the natural world through outdoor recreation, and college and career readiness skills. The program currently works with students in 10-12th grade, developing outdoor recreation skills, building an environmental ethic, developing strong learning habits and exploring personal leadership skills. This includes after school programming, one weekend during the spring at Wolf Ridge, and two weeks of summer programming where students are immersed in a wilderness setting. 

Youth Outside

NRF funding supports Youth Outside's 2018 Outdoor Educators Institute (OEI). The 2018 program focuses on empowering and advancing young women from communities of color in the outdoor recreation field. OEI is a 4-month long, intensive crash course in outdoor recreation for youth (ages 18-24) from marginalized and underserved communities in California's Bay Area. OEI creates access to nature for youth that experience barriers including resources, gear, or skills training. For most participants, it is their first exposure to outdoor skills like expedition planning, kayaking, natural history, and mountaineering. OEI also provides practical tools and strategies to help participants increase exposure to nature for youth in their communities, in the interest of making the outdoor field more inclusive. This funding helps Youth Outside reach its goal of fully funding an all-female OEI cohort in 2018 of 20 young women.

                The National Recreation Foundation accepts no unsolicited grant proposals. 
        Grants are only generated by its Trustees.