Broadening Horizons Through Lacrosse

What if a nontraditional sport could open the doors of inclusion and help address the opportunity gap.

Photo of David Higbee
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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

Despite origins in the United States, lacrosse remains primarily within private schools and affluent suburban areas. While the sport does continue to grow across the country, there still remains a lack of access to the sport, for urban youth. Our founders believed in the benefits that our sport provided low-SES communities, and as we continue to grow, we are seeing a huge opportunity to expand on that focus. Today, we are seeing how diversity and inclusion can benefit multiple communities.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani)

Website

http://www.bridgelacrossedallas.org

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • Texas

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Dallas

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • Texas

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Dallas, TX. The neighborhoods of South Dallas, Frazier Park, Fair Park, Oak Cliff and West Dallas.

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Over the past several years, we have worked closely and listened intently to the neighborhoods we serve, and as we deepen those relationships, and our mission is broadening horizons for urban youth in Dallas. We know that that many neighborhoods and schools in Dallas lack the resources to provide their youth with the type of programming we operate. We address individual health and wellness, while providing a high-quality program service.

The programs we operate and oversee can be an integral part of development for urban youth. Through our year-round programming we are fostering a positive culture of family and inclusion; through either competition on the field or collaboration off the field. We know that lacrosse can provide unique avenues for all youth, and we are finding ways to ensure that relationships are being made across boundaries and stereotypes. 

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income communities

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Community Development and Empowerment

Year Founded

2008

Project Stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages, and has demonstrated success)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

We are incredibly proud of our accomplishments and accolades. As we grow and listen to the needs of the community we serve, we began piloting the idea of college access and resources. Following one of our travel opportunities to New England, we were able to introduce three of our young women to an array of colleges in the area. In that trip we were able to introduce one young woman to Dartmouth College, a school she had not previously considered nor had the opportunity to see in person. We are proud to say that she'll be attending there this fall, after falling in love with the school on her initial visit. We are incredibly proud of her and her hard work in the classroom, and we know that we can open those types of doors for future youth.

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 2015, more than two-thirds of our student-athletes increased their aerobic capacity in the season and we saw that more than three-quarters of our student-athletes increased a character trait related to self-efficacy. We measure our aerobic outcomes through the PACER test, and our character traits through a pre/post survey during the year. We believe in the value of measuring our impact through quantitative and qualitative formats and hope to continue tracking the overall impact that our programs can have on youth. We are also proud to see alumni committed to and playing at the college level, and for our four Academic All-Americans in the past three years. While measuring impact is a new outlet for us, we understand how important it is and we are working on ensuring that we are measuring the proper outcomes related to our mission statement.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $50k - $100k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Like many nonprofits, are budget is small and lean with limited resources to market ourselves. While we are not 100% financially secure, we believe that financial sustainability will come through a growing effort we have in a focused marketing strategy. For us to be successful in the coming years, we will develop a strong marketing plan that allows us to reach a greater number of potential donors, and focus and clarify our mission statement.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

There are many afterschool and youth development nonprofits in North Texas. In fact, we work alongside and collaborate with many of them. For Bridge, it is the uniqueness of our sport and the culture of family that we are building that allows us to stand out in the crowd. We are proud of our little group of lacrosse friends and partners, and we believe that the niche population of lacrosse fans is also a strength, as it fortifies the relationships we have among each other. We certainly aren't addressing anything that others are not, but we are providing a solution that no others are doing.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

It is quite apparent that the landscape of philanthropy and nonprofits are shifting, and shifting rapidly. For Dallas, we believe that the emphasis on collective impact will move the needle in favor of children's wellbeing far greater than the current model. However, even with a strong core of nonprofits and community organizations at hand, we know that large scale change will not happen without the backbone support of large entities such as local governments and school districts. In addition, the continued push for measurable outcomes will help define success for those collective movements.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Email

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 0%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 25%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 50%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 0%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 25%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 0%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 0%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 0%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 75%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 25%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 25%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 25%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 50%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 0%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 0%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 25%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 75%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 100%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 100%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 50%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 100%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

View more

Attachments (2)

Executive Summary 2015.pdf

Our single page summary.

2015 Annual Report Facing.pdf

Our 2015 annual report, featuring the many members of the Bridge Family as well as a summary of our financials.

2 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Melanie Gilbert
Team

Hi David,

Great project!

You are absolutely right about the numerous barriers to entry for urban youth (of any color) with some of the high-cost sports like lacrosse. Barriers include obvious ones like the cost of the registration fee and equipment, and transportation to the field and games (a problem also with tennis and golf, hockey and skiing, gymnastics and swimming, horseback riding and bike riding).

Another barrier to entry includes the "white face" of these sports.  It's not just a low income / urban problem; kids of color (of any income status) simply aren't represented in these sports. It becomes a negative feedback loop within a self-fulfilling prophecy: no kids of color means no kids of color.

My 11-year-old son played lacrosse for our community travel league. Even though we could afford the $250 signup fee and $250 equipment costs, and we got him to the practice field 2x a week plus to the far-flung games every weekend, he was the only kid of color on his team and in the league. That might work for him (he loves lacrosse. He said with a helmet, nobody can see what he looks like, anyway), but that's not a sustainable model for change.

Like many traditionally "white" sports, lacrosse has a major image problem that can only be solved by a commitment to diversity through sustained action.

What you are doing absolutely needs to be done. Glad you are doing it for the youth in your community.

Best of luck with your project.

- Melanie

PS: I followed you on Twitter

Photo of David Higbee
Team

Hi Melanie,

Thank you for the kind feedback. We absolutely see and hear the racial barrier of entry and the perception that lacrosse is a "white" sport. It's quite unfortunate, but for the most part many of the communities we work within are quite open to something new and exciting. In addition, the lacrosse landscape is also quite welcoming to our programs and our youth. There's definitely a commitment and very positive momentum working in our favor, and in favor of the sport overall.

Thank you again for the feedback.

David Higbee