Our Communities


Project Play began as a national initiative. Today, it's also very much a deep dive into youth sports at local levels. Project Play has model communities (Baltimore, Harlem) and regional initiatives (Southeast Michigan, Western New York, Greater Rochester, South Alabama) that are directly helping communities build healthier outcomes for kids.

project play: baltimore

Our first model initiative, Project Play: Baltimore is identifying and facilitating opportunities for leaders to grow the quality and quantity of youth sport opportunities. Our specific focus is on a two-square-mile area of East Baltimore, where Under Armour helped renovate a recreation center in 2016 and asked us to assist stakeholders throughout the area.

Contact: Andre Fountain


Project Play: Harlem

Project Play: Harlem is a multiyear initiative focused on five-square-mile area of New York City. With the support of Harris Family Charitable Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and Mount Sinai Health System, the Aspen Institute is assessing the state of play in the largely Latino community and helping to mobilize civic, youth and sport groups.

Contact: Ranya Bautista


Project Play: Southeast Michigan

Project Play: Southeast Michigan works across seven counties, seeking both community-wide and stakeholder-specific input to collaboratively build local solutions that address a goal of “building communities in which all children have the opportunity to be active in sports.” The initiative is a collaborative project between the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and the Aspen Institute. 

Contact: Martin Fox


Project Play: Western New York

Project Play: Western New York is a nonprofit initiative launched by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation through the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and with the support of Aspen to ensure kids in the eight-county WNY region have the opportunity to be active through sports & build physical literacy. 

Contact: Martin Fox


Greater Rochester & the Finger Lakes

Aspen supports the Rochester Area Community Foundation as they activate State of Play: Greater Rochester & the Finger Lakes in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates Counties.

Contact: Martin Fox



In 2018, the Aspen Institute will partner with the Community Foundation of South Alabama and the Jake Peavy Foundation for State of Play: Mobile County. This initiative is designed to help close the opportunity gap for youth sports in Mobile County, Alabama, where child poverty is at a staggering high. The Aspen Institute and local community leaders will work together to conduct a regional assessment of the landscape of youth sports in the community and produce a State of Play report that identifies key findings known to get and keep kids active in sport and provide recommendations for next steps.

Contact: Jon Solomon