Saving Youth Sports

Playing Our Part for the Future of the City
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Youth sports are on the decline in urban areas due to the high cost of equipment and gear. Hundreds of Chicago schools and programs are hit with massive budget cuts, leaving them with little to no funding for sports. The Sports Shed is on a mission to keep sports alive.

OUR VISION is for all kids in under resourced communities in the Chicagoland area to have alternatives to gangs and violence through organized sports.

OUR MISSION is to provide quality sports gear and resources to schools and organizations who lack the funding to provide safe and successful sports programs.

OUR VALUES are based on the belief that there are life-changing benefits for youth who engage in sports and physical fitness.

Kids Impacted

Dollars of Gear

Items Distributed

 The Need

Low-funded programs connect with us about challenges/needs.

 Wish List

Together we create a wish list and strategy to achieve their program goals.

 The Shed

We deliver gear from Shed Inventory or through wholesale and industry partners.

 Play Ball

Kids play and compete!

Thank You to Our Sponsors & Partners

Who/what geographic area is served by The Sports Shed?

Thousands of inner-city kids in low-­income areas of Chicago, mainly on the south-­side and west-­‐side of the city, plus a few surrounding suburbs. We work directly with over 230 under-­resourced schools, after-­school/summer programs and sports leagues that struggle due to lack of funding. Curie High School and Shields Elementary School are among dozens of Chicago Public schools that benefit from The Sports Shed. We also support charter schools like Gary Comer College Prep and Perspectives Charter Network’s five campuses. America Scores Chicago and KAOS (Keeping Adolescence Off the Streets) Foundation are a couple examples of other programs that have received thousands of sports items from us.

How do you select those that will benefit?

We set up a meeting with program directors and coaches who reach out to us so we can access their current resources, program challenges, and goals to determine if they are aligned with The Sports Shed's mission and a fit for the services we provide.

From there, they submit a wish‐list and we offer consultation services so that we can find the best way to meet their program’s needs and get kids in the game.

How is The Sports Shed funded? Annual budget?

Our funding comes from a donor base consisting of three categories. Hundreds of individuals have invested, giving folks with a passion for sports and/or youth a chance to give personally in a meaningful way. Dozens of corporations have partnered with us on sponsorships and significant contributions. We have also received a grants from foundations such New York Life and The Grainger Foundation. Our Current annual budget is roughly $500,000.

How is my donation used?

Monetary donations allow us to quickly and efficiently source and acquire needed gear. Every dollar donated boosts our capacity to serve more kids and opens the door for us to support more schools and programs that are in need of our services. With your donations we are able to sponsor special projects, purchase gear that is not typically available through donations, offer expert consultation to program recipients, and make things happen that would not otherwise be possible.

How do I make a donation?

Make a donation online using your credit or debit card.

Mail a check to The Sports Shed, 872 S. Milwaukee Ave. #112, Libertyville IL 60048.

Maximize your giving – Most companies support charitable giving through matching gifts and payroll deductions. The Sports Shed is already set up on several company giveback programs such as IBM, Grainger, ITW and Thrivent Financial. Check with your Human Resources Department!

Do you accept donations of new/used sports equipment?

Yes, donations of quality Sports equipment can help us serve more kids!

Our goal is to provide quality gear that makes kids feel valued and gives them the best possible chance at a successful athletic experience. You can donate new or gently used gear directly to our Shed or through Play It Again Sports. See our Donate Gear page for more information.


What items do you need most? Any items you cannot use?

The most needed items are balls (baseballs, softballs, footballs, basketballs, soccer and volley balls, playground balls), mitts, bats, training/practice equipment, nets, athletic shoes/cleats and new athletic apparel.

We cannot accept worn out, damaged, mismatched or otherwise unusable items. We are committed to providing quality gear that makes kids feel valued and give them the best possible chance of success in their athletic experience.

See more information on our Donate Gear page.

Are donations tax deductible? Can I get a receipt?

The Sports Shed is a 501(c)3 non‐profit charity. Any monetary contributions are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt. Donations of goods and in-­kind services are also tax deductible and we will provide receipts upon request.

Can I go with you to deliver sports equipment?

Yes…by arrangement. In most cases, multiple deliveries are done in one day. It requires the willingness to either meet us at a particular location or if you want to “ride along”, it could take an entire day. It can be a great way to see the positive impact we have, so contact us directly if interested.

What kind of volunteer opportunities are available?

Volunteers are needed to help with periodic fundraising events such as The Sports Shed Golf Outing and the Chicago Marathon. If you are interested in helping, contact for more information.

Students can earn community service hours by volunteering on a one-time basis or to organize their school, team or group in doing a fundraiser to sponsor a team in need or initiate a collection drive.

More information about ways to get involved is on our Get Involved page.

What are other ways to help?

Connect us – Sports equipment suppliers/retailers often have closeouts or excess inventor, which means partnerships with them is a win-win! We put the gear into hands of kids who need it and they receive a tax deduction for donated gear. We also can meet more needs with access to wholesale or special pricing from sports equipment dealers and manufacturers. Contact us to make an introduction with people you know in the industry!

Where is your facility? Can I visit/drop off donations?

We have a new showroom space in the Washington Park neighborhood on the south side of Chicago where we are available to meet with recipients or supporters. Just give us a call to let us know you're coming so we can be sure to show you around our new space!

5504 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL 60615

For large donation drop off, we can arrange to meet you at one of our two warehouse spaces that are generously donated by our partners LightSource Unlimited and Mobile Lock & Safe.  Contact us to make arrangements. 

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