In my inaugural blog past, I wrote about budget cuts and the impact on education. Characteristically, I did not hold back in expressing my conviction that we cannot sell our next generation of leaders short by cutting them off at the knees. We must fund the schools, preserve our teachers AND continue our commitment to team sports. Doing so is vital to educating and producing well rounded students, athletes and human beings that can compete on all levels in the 21st century.
In today’s entry, I want to talk specifically about what BSN SPORTS is doing to put our money where our mouth is with respect to this critical issue. Earlier today, we announced the official launch of the Company’s Victory Grant Program. This is an unprecedented one million dollar commitment to provide free equipment and uniforms to school athletic programs and recreation leagues in need.
Why is this important? For our dedicated employees, the Victory Grant Program affirms what we’ve talked about for a long time: doing well by doing good and giving back to the local communities we serve. As we said in our public announcement this morning: our mission is to serve as the ‘Best Supply Network in Sports’ in both name and deed through the personal service and knowledge of 250 local team sports professionals.
But, of course, the real potential impact is for school districts that, in an era of budget cuts and extreme belt-tightening, are in need of team sports supplies and equipment that make the difference between taking the field or not. Just last week, my school district from my hometown of Dallas, TX (DISD) announced that it was doing the unthinkable: it eliminated seventh-grade football. Another victim in DISD’s $77 million budget cuts approved during the summer. If “Friday Night Lights” Texas is forced to eliminate football programs, we know we’ve hit a tipping point.
Of course, this is but one example across the country of local communities and sports programs being negatively affected by a widespread municipal financing crisis. According to USA Today, Jamie Gent, athletics director at Haslett High near Lansing, MI, says, “There’s no money, period. We’re coming to a stage in the next three years that if things don’t get better, (it could damage) sports altogether. Who do you pick? What stays? What sport doesn’t stay?”
These are terrible circumstances for young students, for whom athletics can be so critical to building character, resiliency, and a sense of teamwork – lessons that endure throughout life.
Victory Grant is intended to provide funding to help improve these circumstances by funding programs that are in need. A few details about the Program that I want to share:
- First, programs nationwide are invited to apply for Victory Grant consideration via BSN SPORTS’ 250 local field representatives or online at www.BSNSPORTS.com/sponsorme.
- Grants will be allocated on a rolling basis and are open to all organizations.
- Athletic programs at the elementary school level can apply for US Games Fit Funds program at www.usgames.com/sponsorme.
Victory Grant honors sport for a simple reason: it gives kids confidence. Respect. Honor. Integrity. A sense of greatness. A sense of what could be. It feeds and enriches the same entrepreneurial spirit that America seeks to re-ignite.
Sport, in my humble opinion, is the great enabler. No, not everyone will be Bill Gates or Michael Jordan. But through an investment in both INTELLECTUAL and PHYSICAL EDUCATION, we are giving them all a chance to act big, and dream big.
Lessons learned in the science lab and on the sport court complement each other. They help shape a truly complete human being. One ready to compete on a world-wide scale.
We must invest in our entire system of education. The books. The arts. And the ATHLETICS. Honor ALL our teachers … in the classroom and on the field.
It’s all part of the puzzle to winning the real game … the Game of Life! We encourage our customers and other districts in need to apply for a Victory Grant and let’s retain the full value of our nation’s education system!