The Baltimore Ravens launched a five-year partnership with Up2Us Sports, it was announced Tuesday. The $1.5 million investment by the Ravens will help expand the Up2Us Sports program throughout Baltimore from 2018-23.
Established in 2010, Up2Us Sports is a national nonprofit dedicated to inspiring children to achieve their potential by providing them with coaches trained in positive youth development. Its AmeriCorps program is the first national service program that challenges young adults to give back to communities through a year of service as coach-mentors. Up2Us Sports' research, training and on-the-ground initiatives empower sports programs across the country to become a united force for meaningful change. To date, Up2Us Sports has reached more than 400,000 youth by placing over 2,000 coaches in underserved urban communities.
“The partnership with Up2Us Sports is an extension of the Ravens’ continued social responsibility efforts to make this area better for everyone,” Ravens president Dick Cass stated. “This interest and investment was generated from our players and members of our front office, with the goal of having an immediate and lasting impact on youth in our community.
“Up2Us Sports has a proven track record with groups across the country to address the physical and mental health of youth through coaching and mentoring.
“Along with the monetary investment, the Ravens will be active participants in the development and execution of programs designed to influence our youth. Through leadership of homegrown instructors, we will help children face their unique challenges by preparing them with skills needed to succeed.”
The goal for expanding Up2Us Sports into the Baltimore community is to launch a staff that can execute the program and be a resource for other youth development organizations in the surrounding areas.
The Ravens’ investment will enable Up2Us Sports to launch its AmeriCorps program in Baltimore, which aims to hire, train and support more than 200 sports coaches to become life skills mentors to youth living in low-income communities. Half of all coaches will be women focused on engaging young females in sports.
"We are honored to be working with the Ravens organization to transform the lives of Baltimore’s youth through the power of sports,” Paul Caccamo, founder and chief executive officer of Up2Us Sports, stated. “The country needs new solutions to the challenges facing its most vulnerable communities, and sports is that solution. Because of the Ravens’ significant investment, youth across Baltimore will have a coach in their corner who is trained to use sports to foster positive social and emotional learning and help them succeed in sports and in life. Through this partnership, the Ravens continue to demonstrate their commitment to winning off the field, as well, and we couldn’t be prouder to be on their team.”
Up2Us Sports hopes to train more than 2,000 youth coaches in Baltimore, using sports to address the physical and mental health risks associated with poverty and other socio-economic issues. The Baltimore-based program aims to directly impact more than 18,000 area youth.
Sinclair Eaddy Jr. will lead these new initiatives as the first Baltimore City Director for Up2Us Sports. Prior to joining the program, Eaddy served for eight years as president and executive director of The First Tee of Greater Baltimore, a nonprofit created by the PGA Tour and the World Golf Foundation to encourage and promote life skills and character for young people through the game of golf.
A native of Baltimore, Sinclair has spent years coaching and mentoring kids from Charm City in leadership and personal development, and he has advocated for college opportunities for deserving youth from diverse backgrounds.
"I grew up playing football, golf and baseball in the Baltimore City parks, and I have always remembered the wonderful coaches that helped me along the way,” Eaddy stated. “Now, as the new City Director for Up2Us Sports, I cannot think of a more committed and dynamic partner than the Baltimore Ravens. With the Ravens partnership, we have the resources to train a diverse pool of coaches who are connected in their communities and ready to become impactful role models."
Up2Us Sports joins past organizations the Ravens have partnered with to help create a positive impact and foster community change among area youth. Recent examples include donations to refurbish and bolster Baltimore’s Renaissance Academy, including a financial commitment to the Seeds of Promise mentoring program, an investment gift to help restore after-school bus rides for Baltimore students and a continued investment in local nonprofits through the Ravens Foundation Play 60 grant.