Some nonprofit workers hadn’t even been born when the 1984 Olympic Games were happening, but that doesn’t stop their organizations from benefiting from the $93 million surplus the event left behind. The LA84 Foundation was established with these surplus funds, and amazingly, they haven't run out more than 30 years later.
In fact, the foundation recently announced a new $771,758 commitment in grants across Southern California, pushing its 2015 giving total over $4.5 million. This new grant money is spread across 30 organizations to reach 24,000 children. This is a funder of youth sports, and it has given over $225 million to boost grassroots sports groups over the past three decades.
"Thousands of children are still reaping the rewards of the 1984 Olympic Games hosted in Los Angeles more than three decades ago," said Anita L. DeFrantz, current president of the LA84 Foundation and executive board member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). "We are grateful for the positive effect LA84 and our donors are able to have on the lives of youth by providing opportunities to develop life skills through sport, regardless of ability or status."
Anita DeFrantz has a long and impressive history with the IOC. She’s also an attorney that once worked for the Juvenile Law Center of Philadelphia, and she was an Olympic rowing champion in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the youth sports programs that the new grant money will benefit in the L.A. area include rowing, swimming, soccer, cycling, running, and martial arts. Grants are restricted to the eight southernmost counties of California, and the foundation conducts some of its own youth sports and coaching education programs too.
Here are some recent examples of the LA84 Foundation’s local grants:
- $85,000 to Mt. San Antonio Community College District to support instructional clinics and school-based track meets at elementary and middle schools throughout the region
- $1 million to the Special Olympics World Games
- Ferraro Fields soccer complex at Griffith Park
- Boys & Girls Club of Huntington Valley’s gymnasium
- New rowing shells for the Lake Casitas Rowing Association
- Golf instruction and equipment for the Southern California Golf Association Foundation’s Youth on Course Junior Golf program
- The completion of the Yucaipa BMX Sports Complex to support Strada Corsa, Inc.’s youth cycling program
But there’s another agenda on the table besides promoting youth sports in and around Los Angeles. The city is planning a 2024 Olympic bid, and this prolonged spirit of giving probably looks pretty nice to the IOC. A big staffing change is on the horizon, too.
Last month, the foundation announced that Renata Simril will be taking over for Anita DeFrantz starting on January 4, 2016. DeFrantz led the foundation for the past 28 years. Here’s a bit of background on LA84’s new leader from a foundation press release:
Ms. Simril’s career has spanned the top levels of Los Angeles’ civic, business, sport and political arenas. She began her career as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army, worked to help rebuild South Los Angeles after the 1992 Civil Unrest, served as Deputy Mayor of Economic Development in the Hahn Administration, expanded rental and affordable housing in Los Angeles as a senior executive at Forest City Development, and guided the restoration of the Los Angeles Dodgers brand to its external audiences. She most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff at the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Simril holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California. She is a third-generation Angeleno and resides in the San Fernando Valley with her husband and two young boys.
Fortunately for grantseekers, the LA84 Foundation is open to grant requests from any youth sports organization in Southern California. You can view a list of recent grant recipients on the foundation’s website to get a sense of what it supports. After reading through the Grant Guidelines, questions about the process should be directed to the foundation’s two program officers, Pilar Diaz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Nolan Ortiz (email@example.com.)