Toddler plays with football on a grassy field

Eight sports nonprofits to support this year

The mercury is rising, and we can almost smell the sport SPF and sweat just thinking about all the warm weather we’re about to experience. This is also the time of year when children are out of school and looking to engage in summer outdoor activities and camps.

Our nonprofit community plays an exciting part in the world of athletics, sports and recreation. Between camps, programming and year-round fundraising, if you’re looking for a nonprofit that likes to get folks active and moving, here are eight you should consider supporting.

Sports Backers

If you live in the Richmond area, there is a good chance you’ve participated in a Sports Backers-backed event. This year, there are trail runs, bike rides, experiential runs through Richmond’s art scene and, an annual favorite, its corporate fun run. There also are training teams throughout the year to help prepare for one of Sports Backers’ flagship events, its marathon.

To learn more, read our interview with Executive Director Jon Lugbill or donate directly.


If you have a child or a loved one in Central Virginia who loves sports but has a different set of abilities that may prevent them from participating in a more traditional format, no worries – Sportable has you covered. From less-common programs like boccia and goalball to more traditional sports like swimming and tennis, there are youth and adult programs that are made more accessible for all ages and abilities. It’s also one of the top Paralympics sports clubs in the country.

To learn more, visit its website or donate directly.

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a nonprofit that provides inclusive, positive spaces for girls in third to-eighth grade – helping local youth dismantle age-old gender norms by strengthening self-esteem and developing both mental and physical capabilities. There are six Girls on the Run chapters across Virginia – Richmond, Central Virginia, Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont.

Read our previous coverage on GOTR or donate directly.

First Tee

Number “fore!” on our list is First Tee. This organization provides publicly accessible golf courses throughout the United States, while providing school and community programing to make golf more accessible to youth. It was founded in 1997 through partnerships with the PGA and LPGA. Today, there are chapters across the commonwealth, including Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.

To learn more about First Tee, visit its individual websites.


UTurn has been around for more than 30 years, and while the organization takes up a full 160,000-square-foot building today, its original home and mission were on the tennis courts of Byrd Park in Richmond. Now, there are camps, open gym time, travel team programs for sports like basketball, football, soccer and volleyball and membership options that give you access to its fitness center and co-working spaces.

To learn more about UTurn, visit its website or donate directly.

Hampton Roads Youth Foundation

The Hampton Roads Youth Foundation (HRYF) has been around since 1997 and focuses on providing educational, social and economic programs for youth in the region. Since its inception, HRYF has served over 10,000 individuals through programs, camps and events. Thanks to a cofounder who works with the NFL Players Association, HRYF has had NFL players, political leaders and celebrities make cameos at events for its participants.

To learn more about the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation, visit its website or donate directly.

Jacob’s Chance

Another organization that’s focused on a “child’s ability, not their disability,” is Jacob’s Chance. Serving individuals from five to 35, Jacob’s Chance in Richmond hosts enrichment activities, summer camps, social gatherings, birthday parties and outdoor adventure outings. The organization is celebrating warmer weather with its Spring Fling event on May 7 (tickets for purchase) and will have youth camps over the summer for culinary arts, arts and sports.

To learn more about Jacob’s Chance, visit its website or donate directly.

HER Sports

Another girl-centric nonprofit program is HER Sports in Charlottesville. The program is rooted in six core values – H.U.S.T.L.E., which include health is wealth, trust the process and earn respect. HER Sports seeks to address disparities and build more engagement in sports by way of clinics, trainings, webinars and events.

To learn more about HER Sports, visit its website or donate directly.

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