Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

April 2019

Fund Established to Assist Aspiring Women Coaches

By Deborah L. Vence

A fund has been created that will help support the development, education and training of aspiring women football coaches and scouts who are pursuing careers in collegiate or professional football in the United States. The Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) together with Atlanta Falcons Assistant General Manager Scott Pioli recently announced the establishment of the Scott Pioli & Family Fund for Women Football Coaches and Scouts.

Scott Pioli, who is in his 27th season in the National Football League (NFL) and sixth year with the Atlanta Falcons, has served as a mentor for women in the industry. He joined the Women's Sports Foundation Board of Trustees in the fall of 2018.

"Our endowment fund will ensure that women enter the leadership pipeline in football," Pioli said. "My family and I chose to partner with the Women's Sports Foundation on this new initiative because of its commitment to equality and expertise in closing the gender gap, and we were inspired by Billie Jean King's vision to see women and men advancing together in all areas of sports."

Women have made strides in recent years in aspiring to be football coaches, such as high school varsity head coach Natalie Randolph, the NFL's Director of Football Development Samantha Rapoport, as well as the league's women coaches, including Kathryn Smith, Katie Sowers and Jen Welter. What's more, there is a growing trend of girls' flag football programs in middle schools and high schools across the country.

"The foundation is excited to partner with the Pioli family to strengthen and expand career paths for women in sports," said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the WSF. "We believe the Scott Pioli & Family Fund for Women Football Coaches and Scouts will help women continue to shatter glass ceilings in football and lead them to enter new territory in the sports world."

The fund will award its first grant this year. An esteemed group of female coaches and scouts who competed in elite athletics make up the selection committee, including Offensive Assistant Coach for the San Francisco 49ers Katie Sowers, and two-time USA Women's Football National Team member and Co-Founder of the Women's National Football Conference (WNFC) Odessa Jenkins.

For additional information about the Pioli & Family Fund, including selection criteria, application guidelines or how to make a gift, visit Grants will be made through a rolling, year-round selection process.

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