For the Roxboro Community School lacrosse program, things are about to get a whole lot better.
On Feb. 27, the Bill Belichick Foundation granted the Bulldog lacrosse program with a $10,000 grant to improve its program.
“In order to earn this grant, you have to be a club, high school, or collegiate athletic program,” said former Bulldog assistant coach Daniel Oakley. “In the application, you need to illustrate plans for growth or funding, in addition to including three references. You compete against other teams.”
RCS lacrosse fundraises both for its team and the larger athletic department.
“That consists of car washes and selling baked goods,” said head coach David Oakley. “Players do other things off the field, like Boy Scouts and church youth groups.”
The Foundation is something created in memory of the New England Patriot coach’s father, Steve Belichick.
“Coach Belichick and his longtime girlfriend, executive director Linda Holliday, started the foundation in 2013,” said JoJo G. Wetterau, the public relations director for Belichick’s Foundation. “In lieu of gifts for Bill’s 60th birthday, guests were asked to make a contribution to start the foundation.”
The foundation tailors itself to helping athletic programs in need of funding, providing resources to student-athletes for excelling on the field and in the classroom.
“All programs submitting applications disclose their budgets to us,” said Wetterau. “Some programs might not have funding for a lacrosse team, or try to start a girls’ program with no budget. We look for smaller programs who do grassroots fundraising on their own.”
The foundation’s mission is bringing the values of the Belichick family – a love of sports, coaching, and team-building – to the athletic leaders of tomorrow. While football and lacrosse are the sports that get most of the funding, all programs are included.
“The foundation has given to hockey programs, swimming, gymnastics, ice skating and track and field,” said Wetterau. “Those programs could be schools, non-profits, or town or club programs, who show through the application process that they are in need of funding.”
In this fiscal year alone, the Bill Belichick Foundation gave more than $400,000 in grants and scholarships. The Foundation received more than 100 applications for the grants, granting 20.
“The committee that reviews the applications, they look for programs who are showing that they have been fundraising for the team,” said Wetterau. “They look for teams who are benefiting by hosting fund-raisers, volunteering, showing community involvement, and building relationships on and off the field.”
As a 2020 recipient of the grant, RCS lacrosse leaders plan to improve the program in multiple ways.
“A lot of the kids want new gear,” said Daniel Oakley. “We could also use the money for advertising or stands on the field. All of our previous money came from fundraising.”
The Bulldogs’ plan follows that of past grant recipients.
“Teams have used the grant for new gear, transportation, locker and weight rooms, equipment and various pieces of athletic programming,” said Wetterau.