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SEATTLE PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAMS AND THE SEATTLE SPORTS COMMISSION UNITE TO SUPPORT KING COUNTY PLAY EQUITY COALITION AND ADVANCE SHARED VISION FOR EQUITABLE ACCESS TO SPORTS AND PLAY

SEATTLE, Sept. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Today in an unprecedented display of solidarity and shared values, Seattle's professional sports teams and the Seattle Sports Commission have joined forces as the Seattle Alliance to donate $500,000 over four years to the King County Play Equity Coalition (KCPEC). This past Saturday, the teams celebrated the formation of the group with a KCPEC Youth Play Day & Fundraiser event in Tukwila.  

With a shared commitment to promote equity and access in sport and play, the teams are supporting KCPEC's evolution from a grassroots movement into a self-sustaining organization, paving the way for amplified impact and lasting societal change. Partnering with KCPEC since the beginning, this newly announced multi-year, combined funding commitment demonstrates each team's collective belief in the importance of KCPEC's growth and ensuring its long-term sustainability.

"KCPEC has been an important partner to all the pro teams for years. When we started talking about how to ensure the future of KCPEC and looked at what's been successful in other regions, we quickly rallied around the idea of doing something as a group that is significant," said Mari Horita, Seattle Kraken Senior Vice President of Social Impact & Government Relations, and One Roof Foundation Executive Director. "The Kraken and One Roof Foundation are thrilled to help launch this catalytic partnership."

KCPEC, a collective of over 100 nonprofits and professional sports teams, grew out of the State of Play-King County, a 2019 University of Washington and Aspen Institute-led study around youth access to sport and play in King County. The study highlighted stark inequities across the region and inspired the creation of the coalition, which is currently fiscally sponsored by the Seattle Parks Foundation. 

"The Seattle Sports Commission is proud to be a partner with Seattle's pro sports teams in supporting KCPEC's mission to increase equitable access to sports for our youth," said Beth Knox, President & CEO of the Seattle Sports Commission. "The Sports Commission and its SSC Foundation share in the passion for making a positive impact in the region through collaboration by Seattle Alliance members and the power of sport."

What has been a volunteer-run entity to date, has emerged as the region's expert and lead advocate in dismantling barriers that hinder underserved youth from enjoying the benefits of sport and play. Through partnerships with community organizations, educational institutions, sports teams, and advocacy groups, KCPEC has established a robust foundation of collaborative efforts to drive systemic change, like research reports, weeklong sports sampling camps, securing passage of the Washington State Recess Bill, and partnering with the Kent and Tukwila communities to run inclusive basketball clinics tied to the Clippers visit to Seattle last fall. 

"The King County Play Equity Coalition we helped establish is a successful catalyst for change, making it possible for more young people to exercise and enjoy outdoor activities," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Having the full support of our region's professional sports teams will reinforce our combined efforts to make it safer and easier for kids to play."

"The Seahawks are proud to come together with our fellow Seattle sports teams in support of the KCPEC and our collective goal to increase equitable access for youth across our region to play sports," said Mario Bailey, Seattle Seahawks Vice President of Community Engagement & Legends. "We have an incredible opportunity through this initiative to make a positive impact on young athletes of all backgrounds for years to come."

"The Seattle Mariners are proud to support KCPEC's vision of creating a community where all youth enjoy the benefits of play, organized sports, and physical activity. KCPEC is a leader in creating strategies to ensure that physical activity is a key part of health and youth development," said Fred Rivera, Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary, and General Counsel. "The Mariners are committed to supporting the important work of KCPEC as we advance the team's mission of serving our communities. Through this pro sports team partnership in our region, we aim to help KCPEC accomplish its goals and make commitments to increase equity in each of our respective sports."

"We are thrilled to partner with world-class Seattle sports organizations to inspire and encourage youth participation in sports," said Nate Silverman, Storm Chief Commercial Officer. "KCPEC has a proven track record of helping youth develop self-confidence, resilience, and personal well-being through the fundamentals of teamwork, principles that align with the Storm core values. We are excited about the lasting and positive impact this initiative will bring to youth in our region."

"As professional teams and leagues, data is critical to our success on and off the pitch.  The data set published in the 2019 State of Play for King County report that birthed KCPEC proved that kids in our region do not have access to play and that lack of play affects health outcomes for our kids and our community," said Maya Mendoza-Exstrom, Seattle Sounders FC, Chief Operating Officer. "KCPEC has worked tirelessly to support, uplift, and inspire new growth of diverse, grassroots free play programs across our region and to advocate for physical education and recess by centering equity. Sounders FC and RAVE Foundation are proud partners of KCPEC and work closely with members such as Cultures United, Congolese Integration Network, and Seattle Adaptive Sports to build inclusive spaces for free play and provide free soccer programs across the region. Our collective work with our entire pro sports community is necessary to move the ball forward, and we are committed to the idea that play is human and is every child's right."

The Seattle Alliance includes the following organizations:

  • Seattle Sports Commission
  • Seattle Kraken & One Roof Foundation
  • Seattle Sounders FC & RAVE Foundation
  • Seattle Mariners & Mariners Care
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Seattle Storm
  • OL Reign
  • Seattle Seawolves
  • Seattle Cascades & Tempest

About the King County Play Equity Coalition

The King County Play Equity Coalition is a collective action network of over 100 organizations dedicated to changing systems so that all youth – and particularly youth from historically underserved groups – experience the transformative benefits of play, sports, outdoor recreation, and physical activity. Go to www.kcplayequity.org or contact playkc@uw.edu to learn more.

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SOURCE Seattle Kraken

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