The Hennepin Youth Sports Program awards facility grants to municipalities, park districts or school districts to create, expand or improve athletic or recreational facilities to enhance opportunities for youth participation in Hennepin County.
Up to $2 million is available annually for the facility and equipment grants; facility grants range from $10,000 to $325,000. There is also $250,000 set aside out of the total amount of grant funding available for equipment grants ranging from $1,000 - $10,000 to purchase capital equipment related to youth sports activities and recreation.
Facility grants are awarded once each year, and are evaluated on:
- Partnerships among local government units and between local government units and nonprofit organizations.
- Ratio of matching funds and in-kind contributions to the amount requested.
- Development of new and improved athletic and recreational opportunities.
- User population characteristics and the number of youth served.
- Inclusion of environmental improvements.
- Sustainability, including the availability of ongoing operating and maintenance funds.
- Equitable distribution throughout Hennepin County.
- Examples of potential projects for this type of grant include: baseball and softball fields; soccer, football and lacrosse fields; tennis courts; hockey rinks; playgrounds; skate parks.
Equipment grants are awarded in the fall and spring ($125,000 per cycle), and are evaluated on:
- Partnerships between youth sports organizations and local government units.
- Number of youths served and their population characteristics.
- Ratio of matching funds to the amount requested.
- To the extent possible, grants will be awarded to a mix of various sports and recreational activities and distributed to communities throughout Hennepin County.
- Examples of potential projects for this type of grant include: field maintenance; pitching machines; goals; backboards; sleds and dummies; playground equipment.
The Twins ballpark sales tax, approved in 2006, funds the Hennepin Youth Sports Program and additional hours at 15 Hennepin County Library locations, including Sunday hours, Maple Grove's Thursday hours, and Minneapolis Central's Sunday and Monday hours. Up to $4 million annually is dedicated between the programs.