VPF announces $65,000 grants program for athletics, activities

Viking Pride Foundation and the Winthrop School Committee will announce a new program to support the Winthrop schools athletic and extra-curricular programs with a new $65,000 targeted grant program. This procedure will mean that the award will be going directly to programs, instead of to the overall athletics or extra-curricular budgets.

The new targeted grant program will operate similarly to Viking Pride’s existing teacher grants program, but will instead impact the after-school programs that students are involved in, according to Viking Pride President Al Petrilli.

“Last year, we made a $50,000 donation to the athletics program to try and limit the impact of user fees on parents and students, and we had the least impact we’ve had in the five years the foundation has been operating,” explained Petrilli. “We realized that we cannot impact user fees that way any longer. So we started to try and think outside of the box for ways that our organization’s donations and the generosity of our members and volunteers would be able to make the best or biggest impact.”

What they finally agreed to do was the provide funding to each sports of extra-curricular program that applies, in order to help pay for things that cannot be funded through the budget.

“After five years, it is getting harder to raise money and it is getting harder to have the kinds of fund-raisers that we held during the first few years of the organization,” said Petrilli. “Our challenge now is to make sure that all of the money we donate has the biggest impact for the entire school system. So we’re not going to give money to defray user fees going forward.”

Instead, all of the after-school or extra-curricular programs are eligible to apply for funds that they can use to purchase supplies or equipment that will lower the costs of the programs overall.

Programs cannot apply for funds to pay stipends to coaches or volunteers, but they can apply for funds to defray the costs of new uniforms or equipment for items such as baseballs, helmets or uniforms. According to Petrilli, the range for all future grants under the program will be between $300 and $3,000 per team or activity.

Below is a complete list of teams and activities that were awarded grants for the first year of this new program.

“As usual, Viking Pride has come through for our community and our kids,” said School Committee member Gus Martucci, a founding member of Viking Pride. “This new grant program is a great program and is really similar to what (Viking Pride) was already doing with its teacher’s grant program and complements that. As this program unfolds, people will be able to see how it impacts all of the programs in the schools.”

The programs that have been awarded gifts under the new program include: FALL SPORTS – football, soccer (m/w), golf, cross country, football cheerleading; WINTER SPORTS – basketball (m/w), ice hockey (m/w), indoor track (m/w), wrestling (m/c), gymnastics, hockey cheerleading; SPRING SPORTS – baseball, track (m/w), tennis (m/w), softball; MIDDLE SCHOOL – basketball (m/w), baseball, soccer, cross country, track (m/w); CLUBS – drama, math team, student council, yearbook, mock trial, art club, SADD, GSA, NHS, Project Verde, Book Club, Viking Longships.

An announcement about the new program and the program awards will be made at Wednesday night’s School Committee meeting.

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