- A component of Little League Baseball and Softball, the Little League Urban Initiative began in 1999 with programs in Los Angeles and Harlem, N.Y. and expanded to other cities in 2000.
- The Little League Urban Initiative is now operating with more than 200 leagues in nearly 85 cities in the United States.
- Through the 2009 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of 3,901 teams, which equals out to approximately 51,000 players, and has participated in nearly thirty field renovation/development projects.
- The companies and organizations that are supporting and have contributed to the Little League Urban Initiative include:
- The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
- Major League Baseball
- Bank of America
- The Walt Disney Company
- Comcast/The Comcast Foundation
- The 25th Century Foundation
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Newman’s Own
- The City of Tampa, Fla.
- The City of Newark
- Houston Recreation & Parks Department
- Richmond, VA Parks & Recreation
- American Honda Motor Company
- The Torii Hunter Project
- Popular Mechanics Magazine
- The Annie E. Casey Foundation
- The Los Angeles Dodgers
- The San Diego Padres
- The Teammate for Kids Foundation
- Chicago Park District
- Newark Housing Authority
- Houston Independent School District
- Portland, OR Parks & Recreation
Learn More About the Urban Intiative Program, click the image below for a pdf brochure.
The Little League Urban Initiative program provides assistance packages for eligible leagues that aid the local volunteer group with equipment acquisition, capital improvement cash grants, field development and renovation, access to Little League Baseball and Softball Education and Training programs, advocacy, and networking.
American Honda Motor Company
Honda donates $100,000 annually to the Little League Urban Initiative to establish a cash grant program. Eligible leagues can apply for a cash grant ranging from $500-$5,000 for capital improvement projects. Click here for the Honda Grant Application.
Training and Education
For the past seven years the Little League Urban Initiative has promoted recruitment and retention for local leagues through Little League Training and Education programs. At various times throughout the year, Little League provides a variety of clinics at its five regional centers and at Little League International in Williamsport. The clinic topics include instruction for managers, coaches, umpires and league administrators, with emphasis on safety, child protection, and parent orientation. Any volunteer involved with a local Urban Initiative league can attend any of the clinics at no charge and receive resource materials free or at a reduced cost. Recently, the program has provided remote clinics at locations in Richmond, Va., Philadelphia, Houston, and Pittsburgh.
Because many of the Little League Urban Initiative leagues and independent organizations operating in these environments face the same problems, networking opportunities are crucial to the growth of a volunteer-based organization. Little League encourages mentoring relationships with other Urban Initiative leagues, working toward positive relationships with the appropriate municipal agencies, developing an assessment of their program’s budgetary needs and concerns, and compiling a list of funding opportunities in their communities.
In 2008, the first annual Urban Initiative Summit was held in Indianapolis, IN. This summit brought Urban Initiative leagues together from across the country and provided opportunitiesfor networking and showing best practices.
The Present, the Future
- The Little League Urban Initiative has recently renovated fields used by Little League programs in, Portland,OR; Stockton,CA; and the Bronx, NY. Through grants made available to the Little League Urban Initiative, the program plans to renovate or develop more Little League fields in 2010.
- During the 2007 Little League Baseball World Series the Urban initiative program received a third $250,000 grant from Major League Baseball as part of its commitment to nurturing the growth of youth baseball and softball in metropolitan neighborhoods throughout the United States. To date, Major League Baseball has contributed more than $750,000 on behalf of the Little League Urban Initiative. A portion of the grant will be used to help fund the annual Urban Initiative Jamboree, which welcomes 14 regular-season Little League teams from urban communities to Little League International for a weekend of fun and baseball.
- The sixth annual Urban Initiative Jamboree was played over Memorial Day Weekend, May 23rd-25th, 2009. Six Little League Baseball Major Division teams (ages 9-12), and four Junior Baseball teams (ages 13-14) traveled to Williamsport, PA for a series of games and educational experiences.
|For more information on the Little League Urban Initiative, contact:|
|Demiko Ervin, Director of the Urban Initiative Program|
|Phone: 570-326-1921 ext.245|
|Fax: 570 - 326-1074|
|Little League International; P.O. Box 3485; Williamsport, PA 17701|