Seattle Sounders FC’s charitable arm, RAVE Foundation, and the Seattle Storm have joined with Symetra Life Insurance Company to support and improve equitable access to physical activity for youth by renovating an under-utilized court surface at Midway Park in Des Moines into a new mini pitch and basketball court.
The multi-purpose recreation space is a donation to the community from RAVE Foundation and the Storm, with generous support from Symetra Life Insurance Company. Together, the trio is collaborating to invest in this new court intended for free play, meaning that the courts are unrentable by groups or teams, ensuring they remain open at all times for the communities they serve. Situated just east of Pac Highway in a green space desert, Midway Park provides a crucial safe place to play for nearby youth. The new dual soccer and basketball court will be free to all who visit and serves to inspire play and community pride. More information can be found at RaveFoundation.org/Midway.
“RAVE and Sounders FC continue to support marginalized communities by investing in new, safe places to play and programs that support healthy activity,” said RAVE Foundation Executive Director Ashley Fosberg. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Seattle Storm to further play equity in our region with this multi-sport court and we’re looking forward to celebrating with the Midway community when the time is safe and right.”
“The Storm is committed to empowering youth to develop life-long wellness habits, and the first step to doing so is to remove barriers to play,” said Nate Silverman, Storm Sr. Vice President, Corporate Partnerships & Social Responsibility. “By teaming up with Symetra, RAVE and Sounders FC to renovate Midway Park, we are providing a place for the community to come together and play for years to come.”
Sounders FC and the Storm are members of the King County Play Equity Coalition, which is aimed at bringing access to sports and recreation regardless of zip code, language or race. The King County Play Equity Coalition was formed in direct response to results of a 2019 study by the University of Washington's Center for Leadership in Athletics, in partnership with King County Parks and The Aspen Institute, which found that less than 19 percent of young people in the region get the amount of physical activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Coalition is committed to implement the report's recommendations to remove barriers to physical activity for more kids throughout King County.
In preparation for the renovation, students at Midway Elementary had the opportunity to contribute to the design of the new court’s soccer goals and basketball backboards as part of a virtual Goals & Hoops For Art event. Sounders FC Brand Ambassador and former player Brad Evans and Seattle Storm Associate Head Coach Noelle Quinn joined students as they put imaginations to paper in the art event, led by Midway Elementary Principal Debbie Ellis and Highline Public Schools teacher Marianne Schneeman. The artwork from students will be used to add bright and personal touches on Midway Park’s goals and hoop structures at the new court.
“Symetra is proud to partner with organizations like the Storm and the RAVE Foundation that share our values and commitment to serving the places where we live and work. As part of our ongoing Symetra Empowers Communities efforts, we look for opportunities to help provide unique, inspiring and potentially life-changing experiences for at-risk youth in our communities, and we’re delighted to play a role in the Midway Park renovation,” said Sharmila Swenson, AVP, Public Affairs at Symetra.
The park refurbishment is currently underway and is expected to be completed by early August. Details for the grand opening will be shared at a later date.
RAVE Foundation and the Storm will also hold a free virtual basketball and soccer session for 50 youth from the Des Moines community this month. Kids age 18 and under will be able to practice basketball and soccer drills in the comfort of their homes. Each registrant will receive a t-shirt, soccer ball and basketball for participating.
ABOUT RAVE FOUNDATION
RAVE Foundation, the official charitable arm of Sounders FC, was founded in 2013 to serve the greater Puget Sound community. RAVE Foundation’s mission is to build small fields for free play and invest in programs that use soccer as a vehicle to inspire youth and strengthen communities. By building small fields, RAVE Foundation helps remove barriers to participation, providing a place for kids to play freely, be physically active and safe, and to be inclusive stakeholders in their communities.
RAVE Foundation opened its flagship small field at Yesler Terrace Park in the heart of Seattle in 2018, kicking off the foundation’s “RAVE Fields” program, which is dedicated to opening both mini-pitch futsal courts and small soccer fields throughout the region. Field locations are chosen in an effort to support underserved communities and to provide locations for free play, as the fields may not be rented by groups or teams and must remain open to the community at all times. Recently, RAVE Foundation has invested mini pitches at the old Roxhill Elementary in Seattle, Valley Ridge Park in SeaTac, and Beverly Park Elementary in Burien, with more in the works.
ABOUT SEATTLE STORM
The Seattle Storm is a three-time WNBA championship team committed to bringing a premium professional basketball and entertainment experience to a fan base rich in tradition and support. The organization places high value on community and building platforms to positively impact the overall entertainment, attraction and economy of the Puget Sound region. In addition, the Storm is dedicated to local youth development in the areas of fitness and wellness, with a special emphasis on inspiring leadership, motivation and the empowerment of girls and women. For more information, visit StormBasketball.com.
ABOUT SYMETRA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
Symetra Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions, and independent agents and advisors. For more information, visit www.symetra.com.
Symetra and the Seattle Storm announced a 10-year partnership in April 2019. In addition to branding on the WNBA team’s jersey and ‘Official Life Insurer of the Seattle Storm’ designation, Symetra proudly partners with the Storm on impactful community programs.