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Camden youth athletic league gets $1M in seed money from foundations, insurer (with video) – NJBIZ

June 2, 2016 by Anjalee Khemlani

The Cooper Foundation, Norcross Foundation and AmeriHealth New Jersey announced a $1 million collective starter fund for the new Camden Health and Athletic Association.

The CHAA aims to be an umbrella youth athletic league for all the neighborhoods in Camden, according to Cooper Foundation CEO and President Susan Bass Levin. It will also help support existing leagues.

As or more impressive than the million-dollar investment is the roster of backers: Garry Maddox, former Philadelphia Phillies center fielder; Sal Paolantonio, ESPN national correspondent; Ron Jaworski, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback; Mike Quick, former Eagles wide receiver; and World B. Free, former Philadelphia 76ers star — to name a few who were at the launch event Wednesday in Camden.

In addition, Camden County police and sheriff’s officers have agreed to participate as coaches, umpires, referees and mentors in the association.

Both Cooper University Health Care Chairman George Norcross III and his brother, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, reminisced about their own past, growing up playing sports in nearby Pennsauken, to highlight the importance of youth sports programs, especially in the birthplace or hometown of many sports greats — Camden.

“Strong youth athletic programs encourage healthy behaviors, create lasting memories and friendships for children who participate and their parents,” George Norcross said. “We have many challenges to bring to the citizens of this city the kind of things they deserve. Many times, when I am speaking, I describe the things I’ve had in my lifetime. The things I’ve enjoyed, the things I took for granted, that children in this city are deprived of in many ways. This is not just an athletic association, this is a health organization as well.”

Bryan Morton, with the North Camden Little League, said the health awareness was an important aspect that is often overlooked.

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