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


SE Michigan, Western NY, Greater Rochester

With the help of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the Aspen Institute is prioritizing underserved youth in Southeast Michigan, Western New York, and Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes. Ralph Wilson, the late Buffalo Bills owner, grew up in Southeast Michigan and later made Western New York his adopted region. Aspen produced the nation's first regional State of Play reports and is now working with Wilson, as well as community foundations and task forces in each region, to shape investments and facilitate collective impact. 

Contact: Emily Armstrong


south Alabama

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