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 and fewer kids have the opportunity today 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.

For the 2016-2017 school year, the Play It Forward Award will recognize high school and college athletes each season (fall, winter, and spring) for the great work they are doing to give back 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 season, 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 2016-2017 school year. That student will be honored at the annual Oregon Sports Awards event in June 2017 at Nike’s World Headquarters and will also receive a scholarship in the amount of $2,500. This scholarship will also be awarded retroactively to the 2015-2016 Play It Forward award winner, Gavin Begay, of Warm Springs High School. 


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

  • Be an Oregon high school or 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 or physical activity
  • Demonstrates initiative and drive, by going beyond expected school responsibilities
  • Be in good academic standing with their 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

Award recipients will be announced at the end of each athletic season. 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 non-profit 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 this fund is to increase access to sport across the state of Oregon, targeting those with the least opportunity. This fund will give nine $5,000 grants, three per athletic season (fall, winter and spring), to deserving organizations throughout the 2016-2017 school year. Over the course of the year we will aim for geographic, ethnic and economic diversity for funded organizations. 

The first grant cycle opened on September 15, 2016 with grant applications being accepted on a rolling basis until May 30, 2017. Projects can only apply once during this time period at

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

2015-16 Winner - Gavin Begay, Madras High School
2014-15 Winner - Marcus Mariota, University of Oregon