Following the conclusion of the 2019 Little League Baseball® World Series, a group of local Little League® programs were awarded with thousands of dollars as part of the Little League Grow the Game Grant, a program which assists local leagues who are working to enhance Little League opportunities in their community.
In total, 10 local Little League programs across the United States were granted nearly $200,000 for league enhancements while the French Baseball and Softball Federation also received $20,000 to support district training sessions with League Presidents, clinics on Little League rules and regulations, umpire development clinics, and equipment opportunities for leagues in need.
Grants within the Grow the Game initiative are available for general league enhancement (i.e. structural development, field maintenance and upgrades, equipment assistance, training support, and more), enhancement/development of the Little League Challenger Division® program, enhancement/development of the Little League Softball® program, and to leagues enrolled in the Little League Urban Initiative. Since its establishment in 2015, Little League International has awarded 248 grants totaling more than $4 million since the Grow the Game Grant Program.
Below is an example of one local Little League program who received a Grow the Game Grant during this most recent cycle:
Cheltenham (Pa.) Little League
A part of the Little League organization since the early 1950s, Cheltenham (Pa.) Little League has continued to provide opportunities to young boys and girls for more than six decades. In 1989, the league became one of the first Little League programs to launch the Little League Challenger Division, providing additional opportunities for individuals facing physical and intellectual challenges to experience the game of baseball.
Today, Cheltenham Little League ensures that its Challenger Program is available at no cost to its players and provides the more than 25 participants each year with playing time each Sunday on its fields. Through the assistance provided from this Grow the Game Grant, the league can now ensure that the fields used by the Challenger teams are made handicap accessible by widening the gates and dugouts while finding additional ways for its challenger teams to enjoy their Little League experience. Along with these changes, the league is hoping to continue to find ways to develop the complex, eventually looking to establish a press box, as well as an upgraded scoreboard and PA system to make the experience more exciting for the entire community.
“Thanks to this grant, we’re truly going to be able to grow our Challenger Program and make it accessible to more children,” said Michael Cornelison, Cheltenham Little League President. “Having a resource like this grant program to help grow the program and bring more families into our Little League community is priceless. Being a part of this organization, you learn how much Little League programs mean to the greater community and how it brings out the best in people. That is something that continues to keep me tied to this program even after my son finished his time as a Little Leaguer.”
For more information, including a full listing of grant recipients and how to apply for this opportunity, visit LittleLeague.org/Grants.