Question: We help support adult and youth sports in our community. We purchased trophies for the Governor's Council on Fitness to be awarded to businesses, schools, individuals who have made advancement in fitness or promoting fitness. Our name is on the trophies. We also purchased T-shirts, programs and banners for the holiday high school boys basketball tournament. Again, our name is on all the items. Can we report the cost of these items as a community benefit expense?
Recommendation: The task force recommends that the cost of sports items such trophies and T-shirts with the organization’s name should not be reported as community benefit because they are primarily provided for public relations/marketing reasons, not in response to community need.
In some situations, the donation of fitness equipment and sports shoes for low-income/at-risk children could be reported as community benefit if they are provided in response to a documented community need which is part of your community benefit plan. In the example of equipment, if poor physical fitness and/or obesity is an identified need in your community , and, working with community partners it was decided that purchase of equipment would be an appropriate way your organization could contribute to improved fitness, then we would recommend reporting the equipment donation as community benefit. In the case of sports shoes for low-income or at-risk children, the purchase of those items should be part of a broader plan to improve the health of this population.
Question: Would an athletic trainer provided to the school system free of charge be considered a community benefit? Would school sport physicals provided free of charge be considered a community benefit?
Recommendation: In most instances, we recommend that support for youth sports programs not be reported as community benefit because this support is usually part of marketing or creating community good will. In limited situations, such support may be reported as community benefit. We recommend reporting as community benefit youth sports programs in the following circumstances:
- When there is an identified community need, for example, without your organization's assistance, the trainer/physicals would not be available, and
- When appropriate follow-up is provided, including referrals to health care providers who are accessible and available for required care, and
- When follow up is provided for children who are low-income and/or uninsured.