Heisman Trophy Trust’s $1.2M Boost Empowers Thousands of NY Youth

April 2, 2024

Nearly 5,000 youth in New York, Long Island, Westchester, and Newark, New Jersey, will receive greater support in the classroom and on the playing field.

All thanks to more than $1.2 million in grants announced by the Heisman Trophy Fund for Youth Development.

This new funding aims to connect young people, many of whom live in underserved communities, with programs that promote academic achievement,  develop skills such as discipline, focus, teamwork, and leadership, and make sports widely available to all young people regardless of athletic ability.

The Heisman Trophy Trust — best known for its iconic award for the nation’s best collegiate football player — launched the Heisman Fund for Youth Development in 2017 with The New York Community Trust, New York’s community foundation.

“We’re thrilled to extend the Heisman Trophy’s spirit of excellence in ways that will help thousands of youth benefit from the transformative power of sports and teamwork to help them build skills in the classroom and on the field, improve their confidence, and establish meaningful relationships,” said Michael Comerford, President of the Heisman Trophy Trust. “Our partnership with The New York Community Trust team paved the way for us to expand the reach and impact of our charitable giving program to more underserved communities in need.”

In addition to New York City and Newark, The Fund provided more than $800,000 in additional grants to support nonprofits operating sports and academic programs in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles.

The New York Community Trust manages the fund, which includes issuing requests for grant proposals from nonprofits and vetting and selecting the nonprofits that will receive Heisman Trust funding. It also evaluates the program’s success.

Grantees include a diverse array of youth development programs across the region, including basketball, figure skating, lacrosse, and sports activities for all students, including those with physical, emotional, or intellectual disabilities.

“These grants represent a meaningful step toward equalizing the playing field through greater access and exposure to sports in underserved communities,” says Roderick Jenkins, who oversees The New York Community Trust’s youth development grantmaking. “The lessons learned on the field: discipline, focus, teamwork, and leadership will benefit these kids off the field and throughout their lives.”

The New York Community Trust

The New York Community Trust is a public charity and New York City’s largest community foundation. It connects generous people and institutions with high-impact nonprofits making the city and its suburbs a better place for all. It builds stronger communities, influences public policy, fosters innovation, improves lives, and protects our environment.

The Heisman Trophy Trust

The Heisman Trophy Trust annually recognizes the outstanding college football player in the United States. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust also has a charitable mission of utilizing sports and educational opportunities to enhance the lives of underserved youth in diverse communities across the country. Our goal through these charitable endeavors is for the Heisman Memorial Trophy to symbolize its dedication to enhancing the lives of underserved youth through sports, recreation activities and educational opportunities. For more information, visit www.Heisman.com.

Grants Listing 

2023 Heisman Trophy Youth Develpoment Dund Grants

The New York, Long Island, Westchester, and Newark, New Jersey nonprofits receiving 2024 grants from the Heisman Trophy Youth Development Fund in The New York Community Trust are:

AthLife Foundation: Tosupport academic coaches for athletes in 13 public high schools.

Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens: To run academic and sports programs for high school students in Queens.

Boys and Girls Club of Newark: To run sports and academic programs for young people in Newark, New Jersey.

Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester: To run fitness and nutrition programming and educational enrichment.

Bronx Lacrosse: To expand a lacrosse and academic program in the South Bronx.

East Harlem Tutorial Program: To extend a running program for young people in East Harlem.

Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk: To assist in expanding an academic and soccer program for students at Bellport, Saxton, and South Ocean Middle Schools.

Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership: To fund an academic and lacrosse program for high school students.

Hit the Books: To aid in expanding an academic and mixed martial arts afterschool program in Harlem.

Inspirational Triathlon Racing International:  To support a triathlon training program for girls.

King Kids United: To promote an academic and sports program for high school students.

Madison Square Boys and Girls Foundation: To continue a sports and academic program for middle school students in the Bronx.

New York Mission Society: To enhance four academic afterschool programs for elementary school children in the Bronx.

Peace Players International: To expand a year-round basketball and leadership program for teenagers in Brooklyn.

Playworks Education Energized: To expand a year-round basketball and leadership program for teenagers in Brooklyn.

Riverside Hawks, Hope, Health, and Hoops Corporation: To develop a year-round basketball and academic program.

Rocking the Boat: To support a sailing program for Bronx young people.

Special Olympics: To expand sports activities for public school students with physical, emotional, or intellectual disabilities.

Sports Empowerment Leadership Academy: To create a STEM and sports program for Roosevelt High School students.

Steer for Student Athletes: To fund an academic support program for student athletes in Westchester County.

Team First: To increase a school-based academic and sports program for elementary school students in the South Bronx.

Photo credit: 1) Harlem Lacrosse. 2) Heisman 2023 Grants-Inspirational Triathlon Racing International.

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