Emily Stone grew up in a family of athletes.
Her brothers Matt and Rob were Staples High School baseball stars; they now play at Georgetown and Holy Cross, respectively. Matt was starting catcher on Westport’s 2013 Little League World Series national finalist team.
Emily’s dad Rob scored one of the most famous goals in Staples soccer history: the dramatic game-winner in the 1982 state championship. Her mother Elise was a top swimmer at Harvard University, where she was also recruited for softball.
Emily — a rising Staples senior — is a top-level softball and volleyball player. (She also writes for the school newspaper Inklings, and is a member of the Random Acts of Kindness Club.)
But while growing up here — playing sports, moving through Saugatuck Elementary and Bedford Middle Schools — she started to realize that most of the media coverage went to boys sports.
She thought things would get better at Staples. After all, school sports are covered by Title IX.
They did — a bit. But although the Board of Education funds boys and girls sports equally — in terms of coaches’ salaries, uniforms and basic equipment — Emily was frustrated that boys teams seemed to have much better-funded booster clubs than girls.
Private fundraising allows teams to augment Board of Ed. funding.
Emily asked her mother — who after years of serving on volunteer boards, knows a thing or two about fundraising — what, realistically, could be done.
As they talked, Emily came up with an idea: a booster club that would raise money for all girls sports in Westport.
This winter, Girls Offering Athletic Leadership — GOAL, for short — was born.
Its mission statement is clear: “helping level the playing field for local girls sports programs by fundraising for, and financing, underfunded teams.”
GOAL already has 501(c)(3) status. Its first fundraiser — an auction and raffle held at Emily’s home — was a great success.
The first grant recipient was announced there. GOAL will help pay expenses for the Connecticut Gators softball team to participate in the national tournament in Maryland. Without that help, some players and coaches could not go.
Emily has many fundraising ideas for the future. One is a “team player sponsorship”: a business would pledge, for example, a certain amount for every home run a certain softball player hits each season.
Also ahead: social media, and a website.
“I’m just a high school kid,” Emily says. “But I’m really passionate about this. I’m humbled and honored that so many people trust me, and believe in girls sports the way I do.”
(For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org)