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The 15: Local Sports-Oriented Charities

December 15, 2016
The holiday season presents an ideal time to give back to the community. Either through volunteering with local organizations or monetary donations, there are plenty of local nonprofits in need this December. With that in mind, here are 15 local sports-oriented charities, with descriptions provided by their websites, that could use your thoughtfulness this holiday season.
 
1. All Kids Should Play
Founded by Baltimore native Robbie Palmisano, All Kids Should Play believes all kids should have the opportunity to participate in sports. All Kids Should Play supports various charitable youth organizations in need of sports equipment for their athletes. To find out how you can make a donation, visit allkidsshouldplay.org.

2. Athletes Serving Athletes 
Athletes Serving Athletes began with a group of motivated, volunteer athletes who wanted to use their abilities to support individuals living with disabilities in Baltimore City. In 2007, they partnered with the William S. Baer School to share the thrill of athletic competition with Baer Student Athletes living with disabilities. To make a donation, visit athletesservingathletes.org.

3. Brigance Brigade Foundation
Created in honor of former Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance, the Brigance Brigade Foundation's mission is to equip, encourage and empower people living with ALS. The Foundation strives to improve the quality of life for patients and their families by providing access to needed equipment, resource guidance and support services. Their grants allow patients and families to continue to live their lives with dignity and as independently as possible. To make a donation or find out how you can help, visit brigancebrigade.org.

4. Boys & Girls Club
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore is a committed community partner in helping to shape the lives of thousands of young children through development programs and services with an emphasis on educational and prevention programming. To volunteer or make a donation, visit bgca.org.

5. Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation 
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation helps to build character and teach critical life lessons to at-risk young people living in America's most distressed communities through sports-themed programs. To volunteer or make a donation, visit ripkenfoundation.org.

6. Casey Cares Foundation 
The Casey Cares Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Baltimore that provides uplifting programs with a special touch for critically ill children and their families throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The Orioles -- including former outfielder Nick Markakis and his wife, Christina -- often partner with Casey Cares for various event. To make a donation or volunteer, visit caseycares.org.

7. Catch A Lift Fund
Founded in memory of Army Cpl. Chris Coffland, Catch A Lift Fund, located in Timonium, Md., enables post-9/11 combat wounded veterans to regain and maintain their physical and mental health by providing granted gym memberships, fitness programs or in-home gym equipment anywhere in the United States. To make a donation, visit catchaliftfund.com.

8. Craig Willinger Fund
The Craig Willinger Fund was created in honor of former Baltimore student-athlete Craig Willinger to show young soccer fans fighting cancer that amazing experiences can still be part of their future. These special fans are honored with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their favorite team -- domestic or international -- play on their home pitch or another unique soccer venue. Since 2010, honorees have traveled to South Africa, Barcelona, Milan, London, Madrid, New York City, Manchester and Brazil, to see world-class events including the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League Final. For more information on how to donate, volunteer or become a sponsor, visit cwfund.org.

9. The First Tee of Greater Baltimore
The First Tee is an international youth development organization based in Cockeysville, Md., that introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to young people. Through after-school and in-school programs, The First Tee helps shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance through golf. To make an equipment or monetary donation, visit thefirstteebaltimore.org.

10. The 4th Quarter
Based out of Ellicott City, Md., The 4th Quarter, an after-school program for local students, uses football and fitness to develop stellar habits and a positive mindset. The 4th Quarter believes students who embody persistence, academic excellence, selflessness, self-confidence, integrity and teamwork will be better equipped to reach their true leadership potential. To make a donation, visit the4thqtr.org.  

11. Next One Up
Next One Up works to transform the lives of young men in Baltimore City by supporting and advancing their academic, athletic and social development. The support young men receive from the program has an immediate impact on their development as student-athletes and a long-term impact on them as people. Next One Up provides members with everyday things, like proper footwear and equipment, to opening doors for them to reach the next level in academics such as SAT prep courses, tutoring and college visits. To get involved or make a donation, visit nextoneup.org.

12. Special Olympics Maryland
Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for persons 8 years of age and older with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. To volunteer or make a donation, visit somd.org.

13. Sports Boosters of Maryland
Sports Boosters of Maryland's mission is to promote the advancement and enjoyment of amateur as well as professional sports for youths and adults while providing related educational and charitable services. By bridging budgetary gaps that may sometimes occur, Sports Boosters gives opportunities and presents possibilities to Baltimore's youth athletes. Throughout the year, Sports Boosters of Maryland hosts many events with a range of speakers that are both entertaining and informative to raise funds for these organizations. To make a donation, visit sportsboosters.com.

14. SquashWise
SquashWise is a unique youth development program providing long-term academic and social support to public school students in Baltimore City. SquashWise is a college access program that uses the sport of squash as an opportunity to motivate students and open doors for their future, both academically and athletically. To make a donation, visit baltimoresquashwise.org.

15. Team Up For 1 Foundation
The mission of the Team Up For 1 Foundation is to enhance the quality of life for children and their families with developmental disabilities and/or chronic or life-threatening illnesses. Based in Stevenson, Md., Team Up For 1 engages the sports world by matching children with teams from every competitive level -- college, high school and professional. Through MVP Ceremonies, team activities and endless Team Up For 1 programs, children and their families are introduced to the camaraderie of being part of a team. They also receive support, understanding, encouragement and compassion, which can improve their quality of life. To make a donation, visit teamupfor1.org.

Issue 228: December 2016