NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Local Organizing Committee announced today the awarding of $205,000 in funding to continue local legacy initiatives of the 2014 Women’s Final Four.
In 2013, NLOC created a series of the legacy programs throughout the community that would have a lasting impact long after the games have been played. Programs were created to bring women’s sports into focus; to directly address issues of disparity between men’s and women’s sports coverage, participation, and support; and to empower young females by enabling them to become leaders within their own communities.
“Our local organizing committee pledged to support the legacy of women’s basketball and women’s sports before, during and long after the 2014 Women’s Final Four in Nashville,” said Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors, Chair of the Women’s Final Four Legacy Committee and Co-Chair 2014 Women’s Final Four Board of Directors. “It has been a pleasure to watch the results of our legacy efforts in Middle Tennessee and we are proud to continue to support these programs that will greatly affect young people in our community.”
The following programs began in 2013 as part of NLOC’s legacy initiatives and will continue with this new funding.
· Lipscomb University's Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership's "Music City Girls Lead!" mentorship program will continue for the next five years. "Music City Girls Lead!" is a leadership academy designed specifically for high school girls in grades 9 through 11. Dee Anna Smith, CEO of Sarah Cannon, is providing matching funds for this program. “It is essential that we empower and cultivate future women leaders in our burgeoning community,” said Dee Anna Smith. “By growing this unique program, we can ensure that more young women have a place toadvance their leadership abilities and take advantage of opportunities at the earliest stages of their career development.”
· Metropolitan Arts Commission for future programs that empower young girls.
· Champions 4 Women events in conjunction with the Ohio Valley Conference for the next five years celebrating women's athletics.
· Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame for the updating and upkeep of the Pat Summitt exhibit and/or the creation of other exhibits which promote women's athletics.
· Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee for support of their training programs through the purchase of sports equipment.
· Enhanced media coverage for women's athletics that sprang forth from the Women's Final Four. In addition, Judy Johnson, longtime Nashvillian and women's basketball fan, has provided matching funds in order to continue this program for the next five years. "I am proud of all that we accomplished leading up to and during the Women's Final Four and I am pleased to be able to help support its continuation," said Judy. "Female athletes work just as hard as the men, and deserve the recognition."
The 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four took place in April 2014 in Nashville. More than 35,000 basketball fans attended the three championship games and a record-breaking 4,271,000 viewers watched the National Championship game on ESPN. And last month, the NCAA and the Local Organizing Committee (NLOC) announced the local economic impact of the Women’s Final Four exceeded $20 million.
About the Nashville Local Organizing Committee
The Nashville Local Organizing Committee is the organization launched by the Nashville Sports Council and the Ohio Valley Conference to host the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four. Beth DeBauche, commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference, is chair of the board along with co-chairs Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors and Margaret Behm, of Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella P.C. Other board members include Joan Cronan, University of Tennessee, Marty Dickens, Metropolitan Convention Center Authority; Christine Karbowiak, Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Michelle Kennedy, Nashville Predators; Rita Mitchell, First Tennessee; Teresa Phillips, Tennessee State University; Scott Ramsey, Nashville Sports Council; Ralph Schulz, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Butch Spyridon, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation; Claire Tucker, CapStar Bank; Brenda Wynn, Davidson County Clerk; Gary K. Alexander, Nashville Sports Council, serves as Executive Director; and Tracy Kane, Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella, P.C. serves as legal counsel.