CYO coach Tom McKeen stands with his St. Pius X team and Sister Krista von Borstel, executive director of CYO/Camp Howard. (Courtesy CYO)
CYO coach Tom McKeen stands with his St. Pius X team and Sister Krista von Borstel, executive director of CYO/Camp Howard. (Courtesy CYO)
It’s free money, one CYO coach says.

The flexibility of knowing there’s money for a team’s needs is “just awesome” says another.

In fact, most CYO coaches and probably even most CYO parents are aware of the matching grants that many employers offer — but sometimes that awareness is just a niggling entry at the end of a long “to-do” list of urgent needs.

That’s a pity, because getting the funds is simple.

“It is very easy to get matching funds for volunteer hours,” says George El Youssef, athletics director at St. Therese School.

The process begins with going to the CYO website, cyocamphoward.org, and clicking on “Employer Matching Gifts,” at the bottom of the page. Check to see if the parent or coach’s employer will match donations, which includes volunteer hours.

At St. Therese, the funds helped CYO buy new equipment, new uniforms and gym cleanup, as well as a table at the CYO benefit dinner and at the school’s auction. “Which allows us to give back to the school that supports us,” says El Youssef.

El Youssef suggests that schools have someone on their board who is in charge of donations and fundraising and who can focus on the coaches or volunteers who work the concession stands and staff the doors. They can remind volunteers to check to see if their company offers matching funds.

The key is reminding volunteers, agrees Tom McKeen, a coach at St. Pius X. “The best thing you can do is to send those reminders out to the parents, volunteers and coaches,” he advises. “Make it user-friendly for them; take them step by step. I know this sounds tedious but one less thing for a parent to think about is a plus.”

Last season, St. Pius X’s CYO program had more than $3,400 in matching funds donated. That came through five to 10 Nike employees and about 10 Intel employees.

CYO used the money to help keep down the cost of registration fees. The funds also help with equipment.