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MLSE TeamUp Fund Grant Recipients Announced

4/2/2014 11:21:36 AM

Online grant competition awards four grants totalling $200,000 to Ontario charitable sport projects for the third year.

The MLSE Foundation announced Tuesday this year’s recipients of the MLSE Team Up Fund.  Autism Ontario York Region Chapter, Pathways to Education, Toronto Lords Community Association and Urban Squash Toronto are this year’s recipients of $50,000 grants.  Launched three years ago, the MLSE Team Up Fund provides Ontario charitable organizations the chance to receive one of four $50,000 grants that will support youth sports and recreation programs or assist in the refurbishment of sports/recreational facilities.

“We are thrilled by the response to our online grant competition, now in its third year,” said Michael Bartlett, Executive Director, MLSE Foundation.  “The MLSE Team Up Fund will distribute four grants, allowing us to invest $200,000 in organizations which share our vision to change kids’ lives through sports and recreation.  We look forward to being a part of these successful community outcomes.”

Charities across Ontario were invited to submit their sports projects via an online application form between January 13 and February 7, 2014.  Between February 10 and 28, 2014 the selection committee reviewed all of the projects and selected the top 20 that would advance to the final round of public voting.

The final public voting round occurred March 3 to March 24, 2014.  At the close of the final round, the public identified four recipients.  In total, 64 submissions were made and nearly 25,000 online votes were cast during this year’s MLSE Team Up Fund.

The four winning groups, along with project summaries from their submissions are:

Autism Ontario York Region Chapter - Founded in 1987 by a group of dedicated parent volunteers, Autism Ontario York Region Chapter works to ensure that each individual with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is provided the means to achieve quality of life as respected members of society.

The MLSE Team Up Fund will support their project AOK Camp.  This project will provide valuable day camping experiences for children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders who are unable to attend other community camps due to the support they require.  AOK Camp ensures that campers can participate in various active programs in the hope of decreasing anxieties to promote a healthy active lifestyle. http://www.autismontario.com/client/aso/ao.nsf/York/yorkhome

Pathways to Education - Founded in 2001, Pathways to Education is a charitable organization that helps youth in low-income communities graduate high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education or training.

The MLSE Team Up Fund will support Pathways’ project Mentoring Through Sports.  This project uses sport and recreational activities as vehicles to improve concentration, increase confidence and help students build strong relationships with their peers.  The project’s group mentoring component works to broaden students’ interests, promote the development of personal identity, and provide a positive sense of belonging. http://www.pathwaystoeducation.ca/

Toronto Lords Community Association - The Toronto Lords Community Association believes that all kids should have access to the best coaching, facilities and training regardless of financial situation.  Formed in 1995, the Toronto Lords has grown from a small house league to an organization who services over 400 youth each year in its athletic programs.     

The MLSE Team Up Fund will support Toronto Lords’ tutoring and mentoring program.  The Toronto Lords also provide scholarships to its graduating players, with over 25 scholarships totaling over $35,000 granted out to graduates and an additional $20,000 held in trust for players currently in the program. http://www.lordsbasketball.com/

Urban Squash Toronto - Founded in 2010, Urban Squash Toronto strives to ensure the future success of Toronto’s current underserved youth.  Offering an intense after-school education program with concentrated squash training, Urban Squash helps motivated and talented students reach their full academic, athletic and personal potentials.

The MLSE Team Up Fund will support their project UST: Squashing Stereotypes.  This project directly reaches out to the Jane & Finch community by providing alternate after-school options that are positive and healthy and will help increase the high school graduation rates and entry into post-secondary education.  UST offers safe transportation to and from the National Squash Academy, cognitively assesses each student and provides them personalized learning plans that improve their academic performance. The goal is to increase high school graduation rates and entry into post-secondary education. http://urbansquashtoronto.org/

About MLSE Foundation

The MLSE Foundation believes all kids should have access to sport and the opportunity to develop lasting dreams on the playing field. With the support of all four MLSE teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC Toronto Marlies – the Foundation funds the refurbishment of local athletic facilities and programs that support kids through sport and recreation. Since launching in December 2009, the MLSE Foundation has invested more than $6.5 million into our community. For information visit mlsefoundation.org or follow @MLSEFoundation.


Media Contact:          Abby Albino, MLSE, (416) 815-5455