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.

 

Our Impact

We partner with over 230 athletic programs. Click below to see the details of who benefits:

WHO WE SERVE

The Sports Shed works with non-profit organizations in under resourced communities throughout Chicago and the suburbs who struggle to offer athletic programs with little to no budget. The Sports Shed serves public, charter, and private schools in addition to organizations like after school programs and park districts. Youth sports are on the decline in urban areas due to the high cost of uniforms, footwear and equipment necessary to outfit a team. The Sports Shed develops long term partnerships with the organizations we serve to increase athletic opportunities for kids.

Chicago Schools

Academy of Scholastic Achievement
Acero Charter Network of schools (15 campuses)
– Archer Heights (3 campuses)
– Avondale
– Brighton Park (3 campuses)
– Gage Park (3 campuses)
– Galewood
– Humboldt Park
– Little Village
– Pilsen
– Rodgers Park
Amandla Charter High School
Ariel Community School
Association House High School
Chicago Bulls College Prep
Chicago Hope Academy High School
Chicago Tech Academy
Christ the King Jesuit College Prep
CICS Basil Charter Elementary
Corliss High School
Corliss STEM High School
Curie High School
Dodge Academy Elementary
DRW College Prep
Dyett High School
Farragut Career Academy High School
Frassati Catholic Academy
Frazier Prep High School
Gary Comer College Prep High School
Gary Comer Middle School
Hales Franciscan
Harper High School
Holy Trinity High School
Hope Institute Learning Academy
Horace Mann Elementary
Horace Mann High School
Horace Mann School
Immaculate Conception
Instituto Health and Sciences Career Academy
Intrinsic High School
Johnson College Prep
Kenwood Academy High School
Legal Prep Charter Academy
Leo High School
Lindblom Math and Science Academy
Ludwig Van Beethoven Elementary School
Martha M. Ruggles Elementary School
Mary E. Courtenay Language Arts Center
Mary Lyon Elementary School
Mather High School
Morgan Park High School
Morton School of Excellence
Muchin College Prep High School
Next Level Kids Program
Noble Academy
Noble Street College Prep High School
Our Lady of Tepeyac Elementary
Our Lady of Tepeyac High School
Paul Revere Elementary School
Perspectives Charter – High School of Technology
Perspectives Charter – ITT Math and Science Academy
Perspectives Charter – Leadership Academy
Perspectives Charter – Middle Academy
Perspectives Charter – Rodney D. Joslin Campus
Phillip Murray Elementary/Middle
Plato Learning Center
Richard T. Crane Medical Prep High School
Ruggles Elementary
Sacred Heart School 96
Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy High School
Saucedo Scholastic Academy
Sealy Elementary
Shields Elementary
South Shore International College Prep
St. Bruno School
St. Helen Catholic School
St. Mathias School
St. Micheal the Archangel
St. Pius V School
St. William School
Tarkington School of Excellence
Theodore Roosevelt High School
Thornton High School
UIC College Prep

ATHLETIC LEAGUES

1 World Sports
360 Sports Academy
A Ray of Hope on Earth
Black Yankees
Brainerd Park Bengals
Cameo Legends Baseball
Chicago Hitters
Chicago Lions Rugby
Dixmoor Vikings Football
Dream Chasers Basketball
Ernie Radcliffe Baseball League
Ford Heights Baseball
Greater Good Foundation
Harvey Little League
Humboldt Park Little League Fast-­pitch Softball
I Will I Can
Ice Program
Jeffery Manor AAU
KAOS Foundation (5 programs)
– Football
– Baseball
– Basketball
– Track
– Cheer
Lady Reign/Fusion Basketball
Lawndale Investments Basketball
Leading Lady Basketball
Lil Dawgs Basketball
Lil Dawgs Football
Lindblom Park District
Lost Boyz – Girls Fast-­pitch Softball
Lost Boyz Baseball
Near North Raiders
Near West Little League
Near West Side CDC
New Beginnings Camp
Pink Lady Ballers Basketball
Progressive Trojans Football
RA Black Elementary
Riverdale Jaguars (Riverdale Foundation)
Roberto Clement Little League of Humboldt Park
Roseland Vols
Rosemoor Little League
Rosenbloom Park District
Tomlisen Youth & Athletic Foundation
West Lawn Little League
Westside Baseball
XS Tennis

YOUTH PROGRAMS

Altgeld Park
America Scores Chicago
Anointed Scholars
Austin Community Center
Austin Community Family Center
Because I Care
Beyond The Ball
Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago (4 locations)
– Little Village
– Logan Square
– Louis L. Valentine
– Martin Luther King Dr. Jr.
By The Hand Club for Kids – 4 locations
– Altgeld-­Murray
– Austin
– Englewood
– Cabrini Green
Cabrini Connections
Chicago Hopes For Kids (5 locations)

– Cornerstone Community Outreach
– House of Good Shepherd
– Lena Washington
– Madonna House
– Roseland Christian Ministries
Chicago Training Center
Chicago Youth Centers
Chicago Youth Centers – Fellowship House
Crusher Club
Faithful Few
Girls in The Game
Hamdard Center
INTRSCT Ministries
Jane Adams Hull House
Kids Off the Block
Knowing Your Worth
Living Hope Church
Love to Serve/Tuley Park
Lydia Home
Men in Action
Mercy Home For Boys
R-City
Ring of Hope
Safe Alternatives for Teens and Youth
St Martin De Porres Church
Sunshine Gospel Ministries
The Ace Project
The Support Group
Youth Outreach Services

BEYOND CHICAGO

SUBURBAN SCHOOLS & PROGRAMS

Adopt-­a Family Program
AJK Katzenmaier School
Boys and Girls Club of Lake County – North Chicago
Boys and Girls Club of Lake County – Waukegan
Calumet City Wildcats
Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
Eternal Light of Maywood
Fellowship Housing
Arden Shore Child and Family Services
Foss Park District – North Chicago Foundation Skate Ministry
Isglasia Bautista Emanual – Waukegan
JAMS Sports Program – Waukegan
Lambs Farm
Larkin Center
Learn Charter School Campus 6
Frassati Elementary
Heart of the City Soccer
Maryville Academy
Joliet Celtics
Maywood Park District
McCall Elementary
Learn Charter 10 Elementary
My Joyful Heart
Neal Math and Science Academy
North Chicago Baseball Camp
North Chicago Community Partners
My Father’s Business
North Chicago High School
Omni Youth Services
Passion Outreach
PAV YMCA Berwyn
Zion Alternative Program
Orchar Village Special Olympics
Waukegan Middle Schools:
-Daniel Webster Middle School
-Jack Benny Middle School
-Miguel Juarez Middle School
-Robert Abbott Middle School
-Thomas Jefferson Middle School

NATIONAL 

Dr. Earl J. Leonard High School – Ruskin, FL
Impact Ministries – Evansville, IN
Sport Wayne – Fort Wayne, IN

INTERNATIONAL

Army of the Kind – Haiti
Gear 4 Goals
H. E. D. A. C. – Honduras
Juna Amagara – Uganda
Kids Alive International/Christ the King Baseball Academy – Dominican Republic
Project Winter Camp Jamaica
Soccer for Zambia
Warm Blankets – Camodia
Willow Creek Global Partners

WE MAKE MIRACLES HAPPEN

Sarah E. Goode STEM High School opened in 2012 on the South-side of Chicago with basketball and baseball as the only sports offered. The Sports Shed started working with their part-time Athletic Director in April 2013 to help launch a football program by fall with a $3,000 athletic budget. They had a field but no equipment. Football helmets alone would cost nearly $10,000! The Sports Shed found partners like Sports 11 in Libertyville and Rust-Oleum Corporation to provide the equipment needed including new Riddell football helmets!

Equipment was delivered in time for July practice and allowed the team to compete in the Fall 2013 season. Three years later, with continued help from The Sports Shed, the school has hundreds of student athletes and 26 girls and boys teams. The sports offered are soccer, volleyball, softball, baseball, swimming, basketball, wrestling, track/cross country, and cheer. The football program has expanded to three levels: Freshman, JV and Varsity!

Thanks to The Sports Shed for all the baseball equipment. Without it, our school wouldn’t have had a team this season.

—Ron Fugger, Baseball Coach Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy

Tina Sernett

Founder & Executive Director, Board Member

Inspired by 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.

I had a dad who took me to Cardinal baseball games from age 3 and not only did he foster my interest as a fan, but he took my sister and I to the neighborhood park several times a week practice batting and catching with us. We went to the tennis courts and played until it was dark, and were the first to sign up for summer basketball camps!

My passion to practice, work hard and be competitive came from positive influences like my dad, coaches and the safe environment I was raised in. I was able to pass this on when I became a parent and my own kids experienced sports of all kinds growing up in suburban Chicago. I started to notice an over indulgence of high quality gear to make sure kids were always equipped with the latest and the best. Families in affluent areas accumulate sports gear in their garages that often ends up not being used much at all and grew a desire to find a way to put this quality gear to good use!

When I started researching, I found there was a huge lack of sports opportunities in many of Chicago’s inner-city neighborhoods. It became clear that there is an enormous disparity of resources available for school athletics and community programs between affluent and low-income areas. This leaves literally hundreds of thousands of kids
surrounded by hardship and negative influences with very few positive options.

This lead to my decision to start The Sports Shed in 2009 which has provided quality sports gear to over 200 schools and sports programs! We stop at nothing to give kids in under-resourced situations a chance at participating in organized sports. Youth in low-income areas need positive alternative to gangs/violence and to experience something that inspires them and gives them hope for a better future. The fact that ALL people matter to God has been a driving force in my efforts to bridge the gap of opportunity. Our goal is to continue the growth of our organization so we can meet the needs of hundreds more schools and programs in Chicago that have little to no budget.

Our Staff

Sherry Arthur

Director of Development

Ty Young

Program Director

Jerry Graybosch

Controller

Board of Directors

Tom Reed

CHAIRMAN
Former President and COO
Rust-Oleum Corporation
Board member since 2014

Don Swanson

TREASURER
Wealth Advisor
Thrivent
Board member since 2014

Tina Sernett

FOUNDER
Executive Director
The Sports Shed
Board member since 2009

Mar'Quone Edmonds

Owner & Athletic Trainer
Quest Performance Training
Board Member since 2020

Mary Gifford

Senior Tax Manager
Mowery & Schoenfeld, LLC
Board Member since 2019

Lawrence Jackson

Athletic Director
Gary Comer College Prep,
Founder
Lady Reign Basketball
Board Member since 2020

 

Jeff Ragan

Director of Internal Audit
W.W. Grainger
Board Member since 2018

Brian Scanlon

Vice President of Talent & Acquisition
Coyote Logisticas
Board Member since 2019

Morgan Waldron

Business Development Manager
Arco Murray
Board Member since 2018

Ambassador Board

Click here for a full description of The Sports Shed Ambassador Board and for more information about getting involved.

Leadership Team

President: Jordyn Comitor
Frank Carl
Jacob Hage
Molly Madden
Charlotte Marks
Brooke Overgard
Brian Owens

David Quinn
Patrick Quinn
Caitlin Sernett
Sarah Shanders
Liz Skokna
Chris Valvassori

 

Social Team

Taylor Beairsto
Beth Brichetto
Alec Brown
Kathleen Cook
Aubrey Coquillard
Sami Freibrun
Jenny Graham
Alex Gutierrez
Sarah Gutierrez
Mitchell Johnson
Justine Johnson
Steph Koontz
Nick Korhumel
Samantha Meccia
Chrystal Ragasa
Tara Rooney
Sue Sernett
Lisa VanHouten
Cecilia Wolf

Frequently Asked Questions

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 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 the schools and programs 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 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 $500,000.

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 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 or 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? Are there 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, 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.

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 sherry@thesportsshed.org 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! tina@thesportsshed.org

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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