On January 14 the Coca-Cola Foundation presented Inter Tribal Sports (ITS) with a check for a $40,000 grant. The funding will build the nonprofit organization’s capacity to continue delivering athletic, cultural and enrichment programs for underserved Native American children and adolescents in the southern California region.
Founded in the fall of 2002, ITS, based in Temecula, California, strives to unify tribal youth and communities through structured athletic programs, including flag football, basketball and softball leagues. ITS is committed to ensuring all participants have necessary resources and facilities. To date, more than 20 tribes and tribal organizations have been represented by teams in ITS leagues, with more than 2,000 Native American youth benefitting from the offerings.
Prominent national corporations have taken notice of ITS’s efforts, including Nike N7, and chipped in to support their work. Coke is the latest contributor, and the grant is appreciated.
“The funding provided by the Coca-Cola Foundation will help ensure that ITS remains in a position to positively impact the lives of Native American youth and to strengthen communities for years to come, says Ben Foster, ITS executive director. “We are so grateful that funders like Coca-Cola recognize and support the need for quality organized youth programming in Indian country.”
The ITS board of directors and young athletes accepted the check from Coke during the opening day of the group’s basketball season at the PechangaBand of Luiseño Indians’ recreation center in Temecula. For the current hoops dreamers taking the court that day, and for those to come from across Indian country, the future is looking bright.
“I think the possibilities are really limitless,” Foster told ICTMN in October. “There’s so many things we can do. Maintaining those core values, that cultural identity and that cultural pride, are the key to ensuring that this is a lasting program that will serve thousands of Native youth.”
For further information on Inter Tribal Sports and how to get involved, visit InterTribalSports.org.