Local firm offers help for youth sports

Angie May was photographed at Data Cave in Columbus, Monday, April 18, 2016. Mike Wolanin | The Republic Mike Wolanin | The Republic

A local engineering firm has announced it will offer thousands of dollars in financial support for Bartholomew County youth seeking to participate in athletic and fitness programs.

Analytical Engineering Inc., located at 2555 Technology Blvd., has earmarked $25,000 in funds for youth, parents, teams, clubs and other organizations to help youth ages 18 years or younger pay for lessons, clinics and program fees, among other youth sports-related expenses, said company president Angie May.

The fund, called the AEI Youth Sports Fund, will offer grants ranging from $50 to $2,000 for individuals, according to the fund’s website. Nonprofit organizations that are involved with youth sports can apply for up to $5,000 in financial assistance to support local youth. Applications for individuals will be accepted from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, while the application process for organizations will run from Jan. 1 to Feb. 29.

The grants will be administered by The Heritage Fund — The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, May said.

“This is a need that we believe has been in the community,” she said. “We’ve seen it first hand. Our girls were involved in sports. We’ve seen some families have problems paying for club fees. We’ve seen where coaches are paying for some athletes out of their own pocket so they can compete. We’ve also seen the benefits of sports. It’s not just the sport itself, we believe it contributes to the overall well-being of children. It helps them with grades, dealing with success and failure and working toward a goal.”

Grant applications will be considered based on financial barriers to participation, which will follow federal guidelines for eligibility for the U.S. Department of Education’s free and reduced lunch program, according to a press release.

Grant awards for individuals are expected to be announced in November, and grand awards for organizations will be announced in March, according to the fund’s website.

“I just hope that more kids will get a chance to participate in sports and that coaches and clubs will apply and give kids the opportunity to play,” May said.

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Visit heritagefundbc.org/aei-youth-sports-fund for more information on the AEI Youth Sports Fund.