Baltimore Youth Sports Collaborative

May 2024

In 2017, Project Play chose Baltimore for its first State of Play report.  The report attracted a few national sports-based youth development (SBYD) programs to start offering their programs in Baltimore for youth in underserved communities. However, unlike some State of Play cities, no local organization formed to organize these youth sports nonprofits to work together.

In late 2022, Ivan Leshinsky, Co-founder of the Southwest Sports and Fitness Alliance in Baltimore and Rob Smith, Founding Executive Director of the Youth Sports Collaborative Network, worked to bring Baltimore youth sports organizations together. It eventually became known as the Baltimore Youth Sports Collaborative which Rob and Ivan are managing.

Currently, there are 18 youth sports organizations making up the Youth Sports Collaborative Network. Welcome more to join. These organizations fall into 3 categories:

Youth Sports Program Provider: 10:12 Sports, Baltimore Community Rowing,Baltimore SquashWise, Beat the Streets Baltimore, Girls in the Game, Girls on the Run of the Greater Chesapeake, First Tee – Greater Baltimore, Harlem Lacrosse – Baltimore, Leader Breeders Inc, Lee Lee Kiddz, Peace Players International, Soccer Without Borders, The Loop, Volo Kids Foundation.

 Coach Training: Positive Coaching Alliance, Up2Us.

 Supporting Community Youth Sports: Leveling the Playing Field, Southwest Sports and Fitness Alliance

Collaborative’s Focus: The focus of the Collaborative has been to identify ways to obtain more financial resources for youth sports program to increase the number of youth participants in their programs.  This first was done to make sure they were aware of one-time grant from state funds being managed through the Play Sports Coalition.

Last September, Rob along with executive directors of two Collaborative sports programs, Abby Markoe of Baltimore SquashWise and Anthony Hudgins, met with Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller to inform her of the various youth sports programs in Maryland serving underserved communities and to explore viable options for funding from the state.

Since October, the Collaborative has been focused on supporting youth sports programs to receive funding from Baltimore City Schools. After several discussions and email communications, City Schools made available federal funding in February for youth sports nonprofits to offer their programs for Middle School students. Eight of the Collaborative's participating organizations, out of a total of 14 organizations, received contracts with City Schools to offer their programs this past April.

For more information on the individual participating organizations, go to Directory of Baltimore Youth Sports Collaborative Organizations April 2024.pdf

Contact [email protected].