Our Vision, Mission & Values
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.
Hundreds of Chicago Schools & Programs have been hit with massive State and local budget cuts, leaving them with little to no funding for sports.
Youth Sports are on the decline in Urban areas due to the high cost of uniforms, footwear, and equipment necessary to outfit a team.
Urban students not involved in extracurricular activities are 57% more likely to drop out and are 27% more likely to use drugs or get arrested.
We estimate that we are only meeting 10% of the need in Chicago due to increasing demand.
Urban Students not involved in extracurriculars are
more likely to drop out of school
more likely to use drugs or get arrested
Our Founder & Executive Director
My Dad inspired my passion for Sports
From as far back as I can remember I have loved sports! With a whiffle ball bat in hand, when I was up to bat in my grandparents back yard, even though I was one of the younger cousins (and a girl), it was my top priority as a 7 year old, to get on base! By the time I was on the Freshman softball team, nothing made me feel more accomplished than making a perfect throw from behind the plate to second base and shocking the umpire as he had no choice but to call the runner OUT at second.
Where did that come from? My dad! He took me to Cardinal baseball games from age 3 where we scored every play of the game from the bleachers. I asked countless questions about the players and statistics… it totally drove him crazy! But I think he truly enjoyed that I knew what the best choices were as we filled out the card to make selections for the upcoming All Star game.
Board of Directors
Former President and COO
Board member since 2014
Board member since 2014
The Sports Shed
Board member since 2009
Former President / CEO
Dexter Magnetic Tech
Board member since 2016
Director of Internal Audit
Board Member since 2018
Director Global Talent Acquisition
Board Member since 2019
Business Development Manager
Board Member since 2018
President – Brooke Overgard
Vice President – Frank Carl
Treasurer – Nick Korhumel
Secretary – Jordyn Comitor
Director of Fundraising – Jacob Hage
The Ambassador Board is a group committed to increasing the Sports Shed’s visibility and impact. The Board will be throwing 4 quarterly social events to help fundraise and connect people to The Sports Shed. For more information about joining email Sherry Arthur.
Who gets the sports equipment from The Sports Shed and what geographic area is served?
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 150 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 the schools and programs that will benefit?
Directors and coaches who reach out to us are required to meet with us at their location so we can access their current resources, program challenges, and number of kids they serve. There are strict guidelines that must be met to qualify for our services. We also determine their potential for running sports programs that give kids a chance to experience the life‐long benefits of sports and physical fitness. We go through a detailed process to determine exact needs and then they can submit wish‐lists to us on an as needed basis.
How is The Sports Shed funded and what is your 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 $280,000 but to reach our goals it needs to be $1,000,000+ in future years.
How is the money I donate 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 drastically underfunded. You can contact us directly to select a specific school or team to sponsor with the $$ you donate!
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 or used sports equipment?
Yes, donations of quality Sports equipment can help us serve more kids!
USED EQUIPMENT – Play It Again Sports has 4 locations that make it easy to donate quality used gear and the credit value goes to The Sports Shed’s account! You will get donation receipt on the spot and it allows us fill the exact needs of programs we support. Simply take your donations to one of these stores, ask for a manager, and tell them you are DONATING to THE SPORTS SHED.
PARTICIPATING STORES: Northbrook – Schaumburg – Villa Park – Oak Lawn – Evanston – Naperville
NEW EQUIPMENT – Contact us directly to donate new sports equipment, apparel/uniforms, or athletic footwear. We will make arrangements to pick up and provide a donation receipt – email@example.com
We have collection bins located at a few suburban locations, see our website for current locations available for dropping off quality gear for donation.
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.
What kind of volunteer opportunities are available?
Volunteers are needed to help with periodic fund-raising events such as the Rust-Oleum Championship PGA golf tournament where The Sports Shed is a charity partner.
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.
Internships are available for college students who want to get experience in giving back and bringing growth opportunity to a charity making significant impact for Chicago’s inner-city youth.
Contact Jerry Graybosch for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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! email@example.com
What items do you need most? Are there items you cannot use?
The most needed items are for team sports including baseball/softball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, track and field. Gear includes balls (baseballs, softballs, footballs, basketballs, soccer and volley balls, playground balls), mitts, bats, training/practice equipment, nets, and athletic apparel/shoes.
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.
Where is your facility? Can I visit/drop off donations?
We are fortunate to be able to operate out of two different locations, Vernon Hills and Chicago. We use shared office/warehouse space from two companies who allow us space within their place of business at no charge and we greatly appreciate their generosity! Prior arrangements must be made when visiting us so that staff or a volunteer can greet you at the entrance.
LightSource Unlimited, 980 Corporate Woods Pkwy. Vernon Hills IL 60061