Last spring, Lisa Lysell was watching her grandson, Xavier, play baseball and realized how much Xavier lit up when he played. “He is a born athlete and I love watching him play. That particular day, as I watched him, I started wondering what his life would be like if he couldn’t play sports, how his life trajectory might be different if he didn’t have the opportunity. And, knowing that the expense of sports can be difficult for families, particularly single moms, I wondered, “what do other kids do when their families can’t afford sports?”
Those thoughts stuck with Lisa over the following days, and she decided to do some research to learn what resources were available for kids needing assistance with sports fees. “I assumed that someone had already figured it out, and so I started googling nonprofits and landed on Every Kid Sports. I was so excited to learn more about their mission, and decided I wanted to try and make an impact on kids, here in the midwest.”
Lisa is a sales manager for Hillyard, Inc., the leader in wood gym floor care with a deep history in the sport of basketball. Newton S. Hillyard, founded the company in 1907 as a cleaning supplies manufacturer. After sponsoring a local basketball team, Newton recognized that slippery floors led to injured players, and developed a unique gym floor finish that allowed for safer play. This year, the company is celebrating 115 years of business and continues to provide world-class gym floor seals/finishes on courts throughout the world.
“Hillyard is rooted in sports, has a history in sports…the company started on a basketball court and I thought that partnering with Every Kid Sports would be the perfect way for our company to pay it forward,” attests Lisa.
“That particular day, as I watched him, I started wondering what his life would be like if he couldn’t play sports, how his life trajectory might be different if he didn’t have the opportunity.”
She spoke with Hillyard’s Chief Program Officer, Robb Ensign, about the possibility of Hillyard supporting Every Kid Sports through a focused giving campaign. “Lisa was very persistent in her desire to have Hillyard support this cause, and it was an easy sell to our executive team,” states Robb. “This is the perfect avenue to get all of our employees involved and engaged in our philanthropic giving. We are excited to see funds go back into our local community and support kids in the areas where we work.”
Hillyard joined Every Kid Sports as a partner in early 2022, and will be launching an employee giving campaign in February. In addition, the organization plans to donate funds for every gym floor that is coated over the summer, and will place banners in schools they work with to inform families about the Every Kid Sports Pass.
“This is the perfect avenue to get all of our employees involved and engaged in our philanthropic giving.”
“We are so excited to be working with Hillyard. It is wonderful to connect with a company that has such a long history in sports. We have set a big goal of helping 100,000 kids play sports every year and we need companies like Hillyard joining us to reach this goal. Having all of their employees engaged in this effort is super powerful for us and we believe it will be a great experience for them too. We cannot wait to see the impact of working together and how many kids we can get into sports”, states Natalie Hummel, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Every Kid Sports.
Every Kid Sports looks forward to our partnership with Hillyard, Inc. and we are extremely grateful that Lisa was able to make this powerful connection possible!
– The team at Every Kid Sports