Foundation launches to provide equitable sports opportunities to Birmingham-area youth
The ZeroZero Foundation on Monday announced that it will launch this week, serving the Birmingham area.
Founded last year to address perceived gaps in the sports industry, the ZeroZero Foundation will provide children with sports-related enrichment and educational opportunities through several key programs and events.
A release outlined that the ZeroZero Foundation was founded by Caleb Schmidt, an executive at Magic City marketing agency Knight Eady, after seeing three critical areas lacking in the sports industry: access, inspiration and aspiration.
The organization reportedly aims to broaden children’s perspectives and identify their passions to help them achieve a career path in sports, if they so desire. The foundation’s mission is to leverage the diverse opportunities of sports to enrich the lives of others — one child, one family and one community at a time.
The release noted that a typical family with kids who play sports spends about $700 a year on fees, equipment and other related expenses; however, some families spend up to $35,000 annually.
“This financial gap does not allow families of lower socioeconomic status to provide the same opportunities as other more financially advantaged families,” the release remarked. “The sports industry also lacks inspiration; only four percent of children who graduate from high school will receive an athletic scholarship to play sports for their college or university. While many children dream of playing sports at the collegiate level, it is not feasible for all. ZeroZero wants children to know that a career in sports is still possible even without playing at the collegiate level. Finally, of top roles in sports outside of playing professionally, white individuals comprise most of the industry. The ZeroZero Foundation aims to close these gaps in the sports industry because when the score starts at 0-0, the foundation can create equitable opportunities for success.”
The foundation features three phases: entry, enrich and enhance. Each phase will reportedly provide unique opportunities to children from ages 6 to 18 that they would not otherwise have the ability to access.
“We are thrilled to start making a difference in the lives of countless children in the Birmingham area,” stated Schmidt, founder and president of the ZeroZero Foundation. “As someone who believes in sports and is passionate about the industry, it is time for a change. We need to create equitable opportunities for all children interested in sports and show them that a career in sports is more than just playing professionally.”
Upon its launch, the ZeroZero Foundation has 12 board members serving to further its mission:
Bertram Young- Resource Development and Communications Director, BGCCA
Caleb Schmidt- Vice President of Sponsorships, Knight Eady
Carlos Aleman- Deputy Director- Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama
Charles DeCroes- Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama- Vice President of Technology Support
Holly Dubois- Senior Accountant, Truitt Tingle Paramore Agent
Jeh Jeh Pruitt- Reporter – Fox6 WBRC
Kristina Hendrix- Dynetics, Director of Communications
Leah Drury- Founder/Owner, Battle Republic
Martin Newton- Athletic Director Samford University
Reggie Torbor- Brasfield & Gorrie- Personal Development Manager
Ron Steele- Athletic Director & Head Basketball Coach, John Carroll High School
Trent Wright- Vice President, Grease Trap Solutions, BHT
“I am looking forward to serving on the ZeroZero board and working to enrich the lives of children through sports,” commented Torbor, a former Auburn star and NFL linebacker. “I was fortunate enough to see the power sports had in my life, but not all children had or will have the same opportunities I had. ZeroZero can help bridge the gap and allow more children who are passionate about sports with the opportunity to enter the sports industry other than through their athletic ability.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn