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For Immediate Release
News Date: May 03, 2021

Local Woman Honors Husband’s Commitment to Helping Kids Engage in Positive Recreation Activities

COLUMBUS, OH – A local woman is honoring her husband’s legacy and commitment to making recreation opportunities available to all kids this May with the Brian S. Casey Family Memorial Fund. The fund will match donations made to the PLAY Scholarship fund this spring.

Sharon Casey’s husband, Brian, understood the importance of providing recreation opportunities for all kids.

“Brian saw how participating in organized sports and programs helped our kids thrive and grow,” Sharon said. “He knew that there are a lot of kids who don’t have the opportunity to participate in those activities simply because they aren’t able to cover the cost to participate, and he was determined to do something about it.”

Brian’s passion led him to become a supporter of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s PLAY Scholarship Fund. The fund was established in 1993 to eliminate the financial barriers to participating in fee-based programs by covering some or all of the costs.  

Research shows financial barriers keep kids from participating in recreational activities. According to State of Play Central Ohio, a new report by the Sports & Society Program at the Aspen Institute, 20 percent of youth in central Ohio don’t play sports more often due to financial costs associated with participation. This affects Black youth (28 percent) more than White youth (18 percent).

Tragically, Brian and his 19-year-old daughter, Megan, lost their lives in a plane crash in 2016. Sharon and her children, Matt and Molly, established the Brian S. Casey Family Memorial Fund to continue Brian’s commitment to the PLAY Scholarship Fund. The fund will match all donations up to $10,000 made May 7-9, the weekend of the annual Champions for PLAY Golf Outing, the signature fundraiser for the fund. Donations can be made online: bit.ly/CaseyMatchingFund

“Brian was an active member of the golf outing planning committee for years, so continuing his legacy during this weekend means so much to me, Matt and Molly,” Casey said. “We’re grateful for the community’s help in remembering Brian and Megan and helping all kids have access to the wonderful and important programs offered by Columbus Recreation and Parks.”

Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Interim Director Paul Rakosky said the Casey’s support for the PLAY Scholarship Fund comes at a critical time for our community.

“Now more than ever, it’s critical that kids have a positive way to spend their time so they can avoid negative influences,” Rakosky said. “Thanks to the generosity of the Casey family, individuals who donate through the matching fund and the sponsors of the Champions for PLAY Golf Outing, we’ll be able to make recreation opportunities available for more youth here in Columbus this year.”

About the PLAY Scholarship Fund: PLAY scholarships make it possible for youth to connect with nature, wellness and creativity year-round through programs and camps in areas such as: aquatics; boxing; cheer and gymnastics; dance, music and theater; cooking; drawing, painting and other creative arts; foreign languages; and sports leagues and skills & drills. Each year, approximately 3,000 kids receive a PLAY scholarship. Since its inception in 1993, the PLAY Scholarship Fund has awarded $1.3 million in scholarships. The PLAY Scholarship Fund is supported solely through donations from local and national foundations, local businesses and individual donors. Learn more and see how the fund has benefitted residents: columbus.gov/recreationandparks/programs/PLAY-Scholarship-Fund/

About the Champions for PLAY Golf Outing: The annual Champions for PLAY Golf Outing is the signature fundraiser for the PLAY Scholarship Fund. This year’s event will take place Friday, May 7 at Champions Golf Course. All proceeds from the event support the scholarship fund. The event is fully funded by sponsors; this year’s event is sponsored by Gold Sponsors HR Gray/Anser, Kokosing Construction and Midstates Recreation.  The 2021 outing, which will follow COVID-19 safety protocols, marks the 25th year for the event. Learn more: ChampionsforPLAY.org.