While the monetary donations are the core component of the Glory Glory Sacramento Fund, Republic FC’s commitment to helping each chosen recipient beyond that by activating the club’s players, partners and fans is an additional resource to this community effort.
The fund—which celebrates and elevates nonprofits that share the same indomitable spirit as our region—was announced on Thursday, April 21 at a press conference hosted at College Track in Oak Park. The fund provides individual grants up to $20,000 to Sacramento region nonprofits that support education, health/wellness or youth leadership.
Since the announcement of the Glory Glory Sacramento Fund, Sacramento Republic FC has distributed $94,500 to six local charities: Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps., Cristo Rey High School, Community Outreach Academy, 916 Ink, Waking the Village and Street Soccer USA.
Aside from the grant, each recipient also receives recognition and on-site promotion at a Republic FC match, and tickets to the match that may be used as student incentives, volunteer appreciation gifts or for fundraising. Every recipient also receives coverage on Republic FC’s website, social media, matchday program and a pairing with a Republic FC player who serves as a spokesperson or mentor.
Prior to the announcement of the Glory Glory Sacramento Fund, the club held a team meeting with the players to discuss what causes, charities or similar are close to their hearts. Players shared their desire to give back to the Sacramento region and partner with charities that shared their interests or concerns.
As a result, each Republic FC player chose a cause close to his heart in order to be paired to an organization with the most natural fit. The first two players to be paired with a Glory Glory Sacramento Fund recipient were midfielder JJ Koval and forward Mackenzie Pridham.
Both Koval and Pridham were paired with organizations centered on education. Koval was paired with Cristo Rey High School, one of 30 schools across the country in the Cristo Rey Network which is dedicated to providing at-risk youth with a college preparatory education. The campus is a former business park now transformed into a school, and while it offers great academic facilities, the campus currently does not have an athletic field, making it difficult for the school’s boys and girls soccer teams. Cristo Rey received a $20,000 grant in order to build an athletic field at their new campus. Koval joined students at the announcement and will be returning to the campus as the school year approaches.
“I think the kids really enjoyed it, and I know I really enjoyed it. I know Cristo Rey is just like an awesome program and they are just providing some awesome opportunities,” said Koval. “The kids are thriving there. They were talking about how every kid is going to college which is just awesome. I mean I can’t think of any high school where that’s the case where so many kids are driven to go to college and have that opportunity. It’s a really special place and I’m glad I got to visit.”
For his part, Pridham visited the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps (SRCC), a non-profit organization that provides an opportunity for young adults who have experienced hardships to establish a new beginning and strive towards a better life. Pridham saw first-hand the challenges these individuals face while touring the SRCC campus and speaking to students going through the program. The $20,000 grant will fund programs that will help students with transportation and offset some living expenses.
“It was a very good experience. They had a lot of intuitive questions about life, soccer, education, working, everything,” said Pridham about his experience at the SRCC. “I think they got out of it as much as I did. It was remarkable to hear some of their stories.”
These examples are only a handful of the engagement opportunities with the community the boys in Old Glory Red have made this season. Both Evan Newtown and Chris Christian are regulars at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Matt LaGrassa participated in a recent clinic for underserved youth with Street Soccer USA.
“Partnering with Republic FC and having JJ come out, knowing that the club would be interested to help us with something like this, is inspirational and I would think that the [Cristo Rey] coaches would say it has helped to motivate the girls’ and boys’ soccer teams,” said Cristo Rey Sacramento Director of Development Laura Walcott. “From the leadership point of view, all the way up to our board of directors, it really puts a smile on their face, like wow, Republic FC is paying attention to organizations like us and the community and is really giving back. They’re not just saying it but they’re actually doing it. That’s been very clear and that’s made a huge statement.”
Donations are still open for each charity. To donate or to learn more about the Glory Glory Sacramento Fund, visit SacRepublicFC.com.