The Armoury What's new with Baltimore sports apparel maker Under Armour

Under Armour and ESPN will help turn Baltimore vacant lots into recreation space

Under Armour and ESPN plan to help turn vacant lots in Baltimore and two other cities into recreation space.

The Baltimore-based sports brand and the sports channel have teamed up with Local Initiatives Support Corp., a community development finance institution, to transform lots in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Los Angeles into playgrounds, basketball courts or other places to exercise and play sports.

More than $400,000 in grants will be available to local groups chosen to plan and create projects. The program will award $10,000 planning grants and implementation grants of up to $75,000, with Under Armour and ESPN each offering undisclosed amounts of funding.

“Too many children aren't able to participate in sports due to the lack of access to safe places to play for underserved youth," Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship, said in an announcement Wednesday. The program will “help improve access so that everyone can get involved and realize the benefits of sport.”

Groups may apply for grant funding starting today. The deadline to apply is May 15.

Local Initiatives Support will help identify projects and offer technical assistance to residents and community groups. The organization will also help with pre-development and construction phases, thanks to funding provided by Under Armour and ESPN.

“At Under Armour we believe innovation should be encouraged everywhere — including in our communities,” Stacey Ullrich, senior director of global philanthropy, said in the announcement. “We all know that sport can inspire, unite and maybe even change the world.”

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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