$1.3 Million in Olympic Grants for Sports OKd

Times Staff Writer

About $1.35 million in grants from the 1984 Olympic surplus were approved Thursday by the Amateur Athletic Foundation for youth sports in Southern California. One, a $200,000 program, will create new or expanded soccer play opportunities for 5,700 youngsters in East and South-Central Los Angeles, Compton and nearby communities.

Among 27 other grants approved were three to fund programs for disabled youths in Long Beach, Inglewood and South-Central Los Angeles.

The foundation is giving $210,000 to California State University, Long Beach, to organize sports activities for wheelchair-bound or blind youngsters, as well as cerebral palsy victims.

It also will provide $69,272 to Widney High School in South-Central Los Angeles for equipment for wheelchair-bound youths in basketball and track and field programs, and $24,250 to the Crippled Children’s Society for a swim club at the Harry A. Mier Center in Inglewood.


Under the soccer program, the American Youth Soccer Organization this summer and fall will form three new regional programs in South-Central and East Los Angeles involving 2,400 boys and girls between ages 5 and 19.

September Festival

Up to now, the soccer organization, largely a parent volunteer organization, has been more active in suburban areas than in the inner city. Helping to arrange their new role and providing volunteer help will be a coalition of the United Neighborhood Organizations and the South-Central Organizing Committee.

Other portions of the soccer grant will go to the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation’s Southern Division to bring about 700 children into a structured soccer program for boys and girls 5 to 8 years old and to four existing youth soccer leagues--the Guatemala, Mexico, California and Lincoln leagues--to expand and enhance their programs serving 2,664 youngsters ranging in age from 6 to 19.


To celebrate the beginning of this program, the foundation will stage a major youth soccer festival in early September.

With the grants approved Thursday, the Amateur Athletic Foundation since its inception last year has authorized more than $4 million for 73 different programs from Santa Barbara on the north to San Diego on the south and as far inland as Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Foundation President Stanton Wheeler said the organization has $93 million in surplus Olympic funds in its accounts. The grants come mainly out of investment income from the Southern California share of the Olympic surplus. Sixty per cent of the surplus money went to the U.S. Olympic Committee and national sports federations, while 40% was reserved for the Southland.

Interest Rates


Foundation Board Chairman Paul Ziffren said that with the recent fall in interest rates, the foundation’s investment income, which was close to 10% last year, may be only about 6.5% this year.

Meanwhile, Ziffren said at Thursday’s board meeting that an architect, Frank O. Gehry, reviewed preliminary plans for building additional facilities at the foundation’s headquarters on West Adams Boulevard to house a sports resource center that would serve as a gathering place for sports figures and scholars interested in issues of amateur sport, as well as a repository for the extensive sports memorabilia originally collected by the old Helms Foundation and now belonging to the Amateur Athletic Foundation.

Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson is heading a committee to develop ideas for the sports resource center.

Other grants approved were:


- $103,000 to California State University, Dominguez Hills, and the Southern California Cycling Federation to create youth cycling clubs at the Olympic velodrome in Carson and the Encino Velodrome in the San Fernando Valley. Fifty bikes will be given to each location, and the program for up to 800 youngsters will get under way this fall.

- $16,424 to the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department for a wrestling program at centers in Altadena, Sylmar, Newhall, Saugus, Quartz Hill and Pearblossom.

- $40,000 to the Santa Barbara Girls Club for a gymnastics center, of which $20,000 is a “challenge grant,” contingent on the club raising other funds to help build the facility.

- $61,667 to the Jim Gilliam Recreation Center in the Crenshaw District to provide equipment to start sports clubs in basketball, gymnastics, baseball, volleyball and tennis.


- $47,118 to the Golden State Boy’s basketball program directed by Eli Sherman to create three girls’ basketball leagues in Watts-Willowbrook, West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

- $22,596 to Olimpias Girls Development for creation of two junior high school-age girls’ basketball programs for about 160 in Carson and Monrovia.

- A maximum of $137,500 to the La Playa Community Sports Assn. in a challenge grant for one-fourth of the project cost of resurfacing a running track in Santa Barbara.

- $100,000 to the Boys Club of Pasadena in a challenge grant toward finishing a $450,000 swimming pool.


- $25,000 to the American Youth Soccer Organization in Corona/Norco in a challenge grant for half the cost of lighting their fields.

- $30,000 to the Tri-Valley Little League in Yucca Valley to complete a park expansion involving a basketball court, baseball equipment, two batting cages and fencing facility.

- $10,000 to the City of Bellflower to provide two baseball and softball pitching machines and batting cages.

- $11,500 to the Fillmore Swim Assn. to complete a changeover to solar heating so that a swimming pool can be used year round.


- $133,128 to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Youth Athletic League to provide equipment, uniforms, referees and some transportation for ongoing programs in East and South-Central Los Angeles, including a new program in the Lennox area.

- $71,251 to the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation to expand a multiple sports program to new sites in South-Central Los Angeles.

- Individual small grants of $2,500 to $5,000 to assist with equipment, uniforms or financing youth participation for these groups: the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Del Rey Surf Club, Irvine Baseball Assn., Jackie Robinson Youth Sports; Japanese Community Center in Pacoima, Los Angeles Police Department Foothill Karate Club, Ontario Western Little League, Rancho Simi Recreation and Park synchronized swimming program, Tustin Pony Baseball League and West (San Fernando) Valley Soccer League.