ProAction Cops & Kids is among the 20 finalists for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) funding.
Online voting begins on March 3 to determine the four organizations that will receive $50,000 over the next two years.
Since its launch in December 2009, the foundation – supported by the Toronto Raptors, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC and Toronto Marlies – has invested almost $9.5 million in the community.
If successful, ProAction Cops & Kids special events & communications coordinator Sabrina Holmes said the grant will be used to fund the Bridging Communities & Police Through Athletics (BCPA) program.
“We want to provide opportunities for kids to participate in structured sports programs,” she said. “Because their parents can’t afford it, or they don’t simply know about these programs, the youth don’t have access to these kinds of organizational sports activities.”
In addition to funding, this year’s grant recipients will have an opportunity to participate in a workshop this summer with speakers from MLSE. They will provide value to the charitable organizations in several areas, including marketing, sponsorship and communications.
Since its inception in 1991, ProAction has become the largest private funder of TPS programs for young people.
Toronto businessman John Bitove conceived the program idea after seeing the positive effect that police foot patrols had on enhancing police/community relations.
Last year, ProAction Cops & Kids invested almost $400,000 in 85 programs across the city.
The online voting closes on March 21. The grant recipients will be announced on April 1, during the Leafs home game against the Calgary Flames at the Air Canada Centre.
“The more votes we get, the more of a chance we will have of being one of the recipients,” said Holmes. “The exposure through the votes will also help to raise awareness through tweets and other social media platforms… With almost 8,000 uniformed and civilian members, we hope that will work to our benefit.”
Individuals can vote online, once daily, through mlsefoundation.org