Written by guest author Philip Curll
Nonprofit organizations in Park City are essential in providing working families with ways to more fully engage in the community. From PC Tots, which provides affordable daycare for low-income families in the greater Park City area, to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, which increases the number of at-risk youth served in Summit County through their community-based mentoring program, to Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, which assists residents of Summit and Wasatch Counties on the road to economic self-sufficiency via income-restricted home ownership and rentals, there is no shortage to the work that needs to be done to unite our community. All of our nonprofits combine to make our community an amazing and unique place to live.
One area where the disparity is strikingly noticeable is within sports and recreation. Most of us enjoy the outdoor playground that is part of our town’s identity. Whether it is skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, or golfing, many people around the world enjoy spending time in Park City, a town surrounded by picturesque views and a rich recreational culture. However, for many residents enjoying the recreational activities located in this place that we call home is challenging. Youth recreation programs in Park City are often inaccessible to some local families due to barriers including cost, language, and transportation.
While the barriers to participating in youth recreation are felt by a wide range of families, many Latinos in our community are particularly affected. The percentage of Latino participants in our youth sports programs does not currently reflect the large and growing population they represent in Park City.
In 2017, Park City Community Foundation launched an initiative, the Solomon Fund, in response to that gap and a donor’s vision that no child be left on the sidelines. The Solomon Fund facilitates access to sports and recreational programs for Latino youth. To this initiative, the Community Foundation brings nonprofit expertise, proven financial stewardship, and qualified team members, dedicated to building a more inclusive and complete community.
Studies by the Aspen Institute and Project Play demonstrate that the benefits for children participating in youth recreation are multifaceted, from greater academic achievement to long-term healthy lifestyles. To build a better future, we must work hard to include children from all backgrounds in our recreational programs.
That is why the Solomon Fund was born.
By addressing several of the challenges that make participating in youth sports difficult, the Solomon Fund has helped connect over 500 Latino children to local organizations that offer sports and other extracurricular activities. However, there is still plenty of work to be done!
How does the Solomon Fund help?
Historically, opportunities that have been available have often gone unnoticed due to a gap in communication between organizations and families. The Solomon Fund staff translates applications, flyers, forms, and other promotional materials into Spanish. Additionally, members of the Latino community can always reach out the Fund’s bilingual staff for further assistance. Over the last year, the Solomon Fund has been experimenting with a few transportation options. Last but not least, scholarship opportunities exist but do not always fully support the need. The Solomon Fund supports local teams, clubs, and nonprofits that are looking to increase access through their annual grant program.
Envisioning a stronger community
Communities that are diverse and equitable benefit everyone. The Solomon Fund uses sports and recreation as the vehicle for creating a more welcoming and inclusive community.
Together, we can build a Park City in which we honor diversity, foster meaningful community engagement, and increase access. Park City Community Foundation knows how to convert generosity into impact and serve as a beacon for creative thinkers and dreamers. When champions like you step forward, we uplift the entire community. Your donation to Park City Community Foundation’s Solomon Fund helps more kids get in the game and off the sideline. Visit parkcitycf.org/donate to donate directly to the Community Foundation and click here to make a donation specifically for the Solomon Fund.