Former board member starts foundation to help student athletes

Former board member starts foundation to help student athletes (Image 1)

A former Metro-Nashville School Board member hopes he can soon come up with $200,000 annually to help Nashville kids play school athletics.

Nashville attorney Mark North officially left the school board on Tuesday after choosing not to run again.

Instead, he has turned his focus to The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools, Inc. or The FANS, an organization he started.

“There's a great need because the school system budget does not funds athletics,” North told Nashville's News 2. “Individual schools rely on fundraising, parents and athletic gate receipts to provide the money, but there are many gaps.”

He added, “We have a large percentage of our students who are economically disadvantaged.”

When asked if his foundation hopes to level the playing field with wealthier, neighboring counties like Williamson or Rutherford, the former school board member said the goal was more modest.

“It's at least allowing the opportunity to get on the playing field,” said the former school board member.

Few schools know that better than Nashville's Glencliff High.

“We need something to attract athletes so they stay in Nashville, instead of going to Williamson or Rutherford [counties],” said Principal Clint Wilson

He and other principals will distribute the money from The FANS as they see fit to their athletic programs.

We need funds in places like paying officials in non-revenue sports, shoes for the basketball team, or updating the facilities,” Wilson said as he showed Nashville's News 2 a 50-year-old plus gym floor that will actually be replaced with school budget funds.

One glaring need at Glencliff is the lack of no proper outfield fences at the baseball diamond.

“If you hit it over the outfielders head you get a home run basically because it doesn't have to go over a fence of any kind,” Wilson said.

North told Nashville's News 2 he hopes to make his first donation to individual schools within the next few weeks.

His goal for next year is to donate $200,000 to the athletic programs that includes both grades 9-12 and middle schools.

Read more about the organization at TheFANSInc.com.

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