The Play It Forward Award

Nike believes in the power of youth sports to unleash human potential, and Providence Health & Services is committed to helping kids be physically active by building healthier communities together with community partners. Unfortunately, fewer kids each year have the opportunity to experience the benefits of positive youth sports experiences and physical activity. One of the barriers to getting kids moving more is simply having role models to engage and motivate them.

2015 marked the launch of the Oregon Sports Awards’ inaugural Play It Forward Award, presented by Nike and Providence Health & Services. The Play It Forward Award was created to recognize the high school and college athletes who are inspirational role models in their community. The first honorary Play It Forward Award was given to Marcus Mariota – who inspired Oregonians through his achievements on the field and with his generous commitment of time to kids in Eugene at the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley.

Each year, the Play It Forward Award recognizes high school and college athletes for the positive impact they have made in their communities across Oregon. Students athletes can self-select to be considered for the award or they can be nominated throughout the year by a community member, teacher, coach, or parent. At the end of each academic year, the selected Play It Forward Athletes will be recognized for their service by Oregon Sports Awards and receive a certificate of accomplishment. All awardees—12 in total, representing two high school and two colleges each per season—will be eligible for the annual Play It Forward Award and scholarship. One exceptional student will be selected from the seasonal awardees recognized throughout the 2017-2018 school year. That student will be honored during the annual Oregon Sports Awards announcement sequence and show, and will receive a scholarship in the amount of $2,500.


In order to be eligible for the Play It Forward Award, the student athlete must:

  • Be an Oregon high school student athlete competing at any level (Freshman, JV or Varsity)

  • Be an Oregon college/university student who is a member of a varsity athletic team at their school

  • Demonstrate a sustained volunteer commitment with an organization or program that gets kids active through sport and/or physical activity

  • Show initiative and drive, by going beyond expected school and athletic team responsibilities

  • Be in good academic standing with their high school or college/university

  • Not have any criminal record or have been investigated for criminal activity


1. Review the Eligibility Guidelines above to make sure the student-athlete is eligible
2. Complete and submit the application below

*If you are having trouble viewing the application below, click here

Questions? Please email

All the award recipients will be announced at the end of the academic year. The student-athlete will receive a certificate recognizing their accomplishment as well as media coverage in the local news.

The Play It Forward Fund

Positive experiences in sport and physical activity are critical to developing healthy kids and building healthy communities. That is why presenting sponsors Nike and Providence Health & Services have also donated a combined $50,000 to the Play It Forward Fund managed by the Oregon Sports Authority Foundation.

The Play It Forward Fund supports 501(c)(3) organizations that are providing access to physical activity and sport opportunities for youth throughout Oregon. This funding will support organizations focusing on elementary and middle school youth. 

The goal of the Play It Forward fund is to increase access to sport across the state of Oregon, targeting those with the least opportunity. This fund will award nine $5,000 grants, three per athletic season (fall, winter and spring), to deserving organizations throughout the 2017-2018 school year. Over the course of the year, we will aim for geographic, ethnic and economic diversity for funded organizations. 

Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until May 1, 2018. Projects can only apply once during this time period at

You will be notified via email in May 2018 if your organization has been selected as a grant recipient with further instructions and details. The Grant Selection Committee is comprised of Nike and Providence Health & Services employees, a representative from the Oregon Sports Awards and a representative from the Oregon Sports Authority Foundation. 

Past Winners

2016-17 Winner - Tya Seth, Lake Oswego High School
2015-16 Winner - Gavin Begay, Madras High School
2014-15 Winner - Marcus Mariota, University of Oregon