EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — When the train derailed in East Palestine in February, businesses weren’t the only one’s who suffered financially — the village’s high school athletics budget also took a hit, but a recently awarded grant will help.
The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation has awarded a $75,000 grant to the East Palestine City School District.
The high school athletic department’s operating budget took about a $70,000 hit, putting spring sports in jeopardy. They lost funding in fundraising, which is about $40,000 from youth volleyball and basketball tournaments, and from four invitational track meets that bring in $25,000 to $30,000.
Athletic director Dwayne Pavkovich looked into funding and reached out to Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as many corporations. He didn’t expect to get more than $10,000 — but ended up with $75,000 — all while making it a surprise to the Bulldogs.
“They were as passionate as if they were their own kids,” Pavkovich said. “I mean, they understood the need.”
The company announced on its Facebook page that this grant is its 64th grant given out of 75 as a part of its 75th Anniversary initiative: 75for75 Sports Matter program.
DICK’S Sporting Goods released the following announcement:
“Grant 64 of 75: East Palestine City School District
When a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, OH in February, youth & high school sports became at risk of being canceled for good. Opposing teams refused to come to EP to play, creating an approximate 40% loss in revenue for the school system’s athletic department, leaving the opportunity for kids to play in limbo. But the determination of the players and their coaches to get back onto the field rallied support, both from inside and outside the community, making the people of East Palestine known, not for a derailment, but for their resiliency.
To celebrate our 75th anniversary, The DICK’S Foundation is honored to award East Palestine City School District with $75,000 to help the program continue to show how #SportsChangeLives.”
The company put together a video about the village and why it was chosen as a recipient.
For more information on the 75for75 program, visit DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation website.