Max Smith ’16, Eagan, Minn., is creating opportunities for young athletes to get in the game.
For Smith, playing sports has been a way of life since childhood. Now, as founder and director of InSports Foundation, he wants to make sure that other young athletes have the same opportunities to participate.
“I believe sports can be a great outlet for kids to exercise, learn how to work in teams and have a lot of fun,” says Smith, who plays hockey and golf at Concordia. “[But] there are a lot of families who can’t afford to have their kids play sports because they can’t keep up with all the expenses.”
Insports Foundation helps families defray the rising costs of youth sports – registration fees, camps and equipment. The foundation achieved nonprofit status in 2014 but was started three years ago. In that time, more than $30,000 has been raised.
Smith recently was named one of 15 national candidates for the prestigious BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award because of his work with the foundation. The award is presented annually to a hockey student-athlete who makes significant contributions to his or her team and to the community.
Funded primarily through apparel sales and fundraising events, Smith’s vision for the foundation doesn’t stop at cutting the costs of participating in sports. Smith is building a community around the idea of getting kids in the game, starting right here at Concordia.
“The foundation really began to take off because of all the other people that want to be involved in it,” Smith says. “These people are the reason why the InSports Foundation has taken off. It wasn’t really up to me after everyone else joined our mission.”
Smith credits Concordia students, faculty and coaches for their support and noted that his classes have contributed to InSports Foundation’s success.
“It is great when you can learn something in the classroom and immediately apply it to something else that you are doing,” Smith says. “I feel like that is something unique that I was blessed with from choosing to go to Concordia.”