Over the past decade, according to an ESPN study, 74% of Pro-Athlete non-profit organizations have failed due to non-compliance.
Newtown Connection has therefore established a formal partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties (“BGCSDC”). This core partnership helps ensure the stability and sustainability of the program. Newtown Connection will operate at the BGCSDC’s Newtown Estates Park Boys & Girls Club (“NEP”), which includes manicured but currently unused baseball fields. The use of NEP’s baseball complex during the Club’s normal operating hours will be provided by BGCSDC and will facilitate targeted recruitment of the areas most underserved youth.
BGCSDC has earned 4-Star rating six years in a row from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. The 4-Star rating is awarded to only the most fiscally responsible organizations.
Newtown is an underserved community located in North Sarasota, a city along Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. There is a stark dichotomy between the rich history of Sarasota County, which includes three beautiful, professional MLB spring training facilities, and the underserved community that resides near Newtown Estates Park Boys & Girls Club (“NEP”), where Newtown Connection will operate. However, Newtown is no stranger to baseball: Hall of Fame Negro League player and coach Buck O’Neil was a native of Newtown and continues to be a role model for black players.
Our focus is on the diverse and at-risk youth population that lives in Newtown. NEP serves some of the most disadvantaged members of the community, residing amidst public housing and serving as a Food Assistance Site for the neighborhood. Current area demographics indicate that 84% of NEP members identify as African American, 10% identify as Multi-Racial, and 57% are female. In addition, 94.4% of elementary-aged youth and 79% of middle-school students in NEP qualify for Free or Reduced-Price lunch; 86% live in Single Parent/Guardian household; 66% attend a school with a D grade as rated by the Florida Department of Education; and 65% of members come from households whose annual household income is $9,000 or less. These numbers are derived by the BGCSDC 2020 attendance records.
Newtown Connection will seek to recruit children ages 6-12 years old who are NEP members. They will participate in fast-paced, inclusive baseball activities while receiving an important after-school enrichment curriculum that helps ensure their success both on and off the field. This program will introduce baseball to youth that may lack access to the sport because of financial hardship, transportation, lack of safe green spaces to play, skill level, and/or even having proper sports equipment. The major focuses of the program include sports, health and education, trauma recovery, and positive character trait development.