by Brad Duncan
When Paintsville, Ky., native Brandon M. Tosti read a Sports Illustrated article about the effect Hurricane Katrina had on the playgrounds, schools and youth athletic programs in New Orleans, he was moved. He was so moved that he decided to help out.
The result was Sports for a Cause. Operated out of Denver, Colo., where Tosti is the director of business development for Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the organization is a volunteer non-profit that replenishes sports equipment for physical education teachers and youth recreational programs and rebuilds playgrounds in New Orleans and Denver.
So far the organization has assisted 16 schools in both cities, and Tosti, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Education Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, leads volunteer trips to New Orleans a couple times each year.
“Our largest donation was to Denver North High School, and it was over $10,000 in equipment,” Tosti said. “Someone broke into the football team’s locker room and stole close to $10,000 in equipment and jerseys. At the request of the team’s coach, Paul Kelly, the equipment we provided was shared with two girls’ teams and the boy’s basketball team.”
Tosti said that they while they do struggle at times to raise funds, they are able to stay afloat and make significant contributions through special events, word of mouth and the use of Facebook. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.sportsforacause.org.