Maryland sports apparel company Under Armour was recognized as one of four finalists for the Corporate Community Impact Award at ESPN's Sports Humanitarian Awards in Los Angeles July 11. Highlights of the awards show will air on ESPN July 25.
Under Armour was a finalist for its leadership in the
renovation of UA House
, a community center in East Baltimore. The community center, whose renovation was largely financed by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, is adjacent to the Pleasant View Gardens community and had a grand opening in November.
While the UA House at 1100 E. Fayette St. provides hundreds of youths with sports and fitness opportunities daily on its basketball courts and turf field, its facilities offer a great deal more. At UA House, youths and adults are afforded academic help, workplace guidance and even entrepreneurial training. Both GED and ESL help are also available.
The building features 30,000 square feet of space, including a basketball court with bleachers, a turf field (sponsored by the Ravens), a dance and yoga studio, a recording studio, a tutoring center and a community kitchen.
The center is operated by Living Classrooms, a longtime Baltimore community service organization that has provided educational and job training for city youth.
Plank provided $5 million to the makeover and, in addition to the Ravens, others donating money and resources were Under Armour, Joseph and Debra Weinberg, the State of Maryland, Sagamore Development and the Clark Construction Group.
When the center opened with a ceremony packed with local celebrities such as U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and former Raven Ray Lewis, Plank said credit belonged to many.
"It's no one person writing a check; it's no one politician; it's no one business person, it's no one community leader. It takes all of us," Plank said.
"This is what happens when you put great things in that big bucket and one person decides to drop a stone in it. And you realize what happens when the rest of the community comes together to make great things happen."
Along with Under Armour, other finalists in the Corporate Community Impact Award category were DICK'S Sports Goods, HOK, and Chevron. DICK'S won the category for its broad financial and promotional contributions to youth sports.
In other humanitarian award categories, the winners were: Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award -- Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames; Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award -- San Francisco 49ers; League Humanitarian Leadership Award -- USTA; Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Awards (three honorees) -- Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer; City Soccer Club; and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality.