Why we need two middle school sports boosters in East Providence

To the editor,
My name is Venus Tavares and I’m the President of the East Providence Middle Schools Athletics Booster Club. I am writing in response to the letter published on 9/20 about our organization and Project 106. I want to start by thanking Mr. Amman for his interest in the cause and by raising some important questions. I hope to answer those questions to the best of my ability.
Let me first address the perception that the EPMSABC is the second group to join the fray. Like Project 106, we have filed for 501c3 tax-exempt status, and we legally incorporated on May 28th, about two months before Project 106 did. You can find this information, regarding both groups, on the Secretary of State’s website. People don’t know us as well because we have chosen to get our organization in order prior to attempting major fundraising and forming our board from a large cross-section of interested individuals. We are happy to have a functioning board of seven members, six of which I didn’t even know before this whole issue came up; they represent different sections of the city, different professions, different political views. We have parents, coaches, fans and members of the local business community. One of the things we all agree on is full disclosure, we haven’t done any major fundraising before we were legally setup to do so, and all funds raised have been with the proviso, in writing, that we are not yet a tax-exempt organization.
As to why there are two groups; looking from the outside, Project 106 seems to have had a frequently changing and evolving mission and strategy, whether you read their statements here in the Post, on the Dan Yorke show or elsewhere. Whether they are permanent or temporary, whether they support restoring the former school sports programs or forming club sports under their own direction or supporting the Principal’s intramural sports plan is all a different answer depending on when it was asked. On the other hand we have had one continuous mission and plan, we have gotten off to a slower start, because we want to make sure we’re doing things right, not making it up as we go. I’m not saying this as a criticism of their group, but as a way of explaining our difference in approach. Our group is here not to just to save sports, but also to improve them, another difference between us and Project 106. Even if the sports were funded today, the kids will still be playing with old equipment and uniforms, and facilities that need repairs.
Mr. Amman also brought up competing for the same resources, to be honest, a lot of the people we’ve talked to have either not been approached by Project 106 or chose not to give to them for their own personal reasons. We also plan, once we have confirmation from the IRS, to pursue other monies besides tapping the same local residents, including corporate, non-profit and government grants.
Right now we are talking with Project 106 to discuss how we can work together to achieve our common goals. We are dedicated to the cause and we will work with whomever it takes to achieve our mission. I encourage anyone interested in seeing sports return to our middle schools to donate.
Venus Tavares
President, EPMSABC


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