News Story

Pork Friday: Michigan lawmakers gave $300K to a Little League organization

A California nonprofit raked in $950K; a Detroit boxing gym got $500K

With community support, a team from the Taylor North Little League won the Little League World Series in 2021. It has over 40 sponsors advertised on its website. The organization also has $2 million in gross receipts and $234,451 in assets, according to the latest information reported by Guidestar. It was just granted a $300,000 boost from state taxpayers in the 2023 state budget. And the league is not the only sports organization to reap a harvest from taxpayers.

The biggest winner when it comes to health and sports pork is the Michigan Fitness Club Association. It was started in 2020 to lobby the state on behalf of businesses that wanted to reopen during the COVID-19 shutdown, according to its website. The association was given $8.5 million in the state budget.

The Berston Field House in Flint, is, according to its website, a place for individual and community enrichment through education, athletics, the arts and community service. It will receive $500,000 from the 2023 state budget. The field house received $972,121 in grants, contributions, and membership fees in 2021, of which $512,348 came from government sources.

Playworks is a national organization based in California. The organization helps kids play at recess and states on its website: “We help every kid play, every day.”

It had $17.4 million in total revenue in 2020 and received $3.3 million in government grants. It is unclear which government bodies contributed. But in 2023, Michigan is sending $950,000 in taxpayer funds to the organization.

The Downtown Boxing Gym in Detroit was awarded $500,000 from state taxpayers this year. The gym had just over $3 million in total revenue in 2019, of which $2.8 million came from grants, gifts and contributions. Salary and benefits cost the gym $1.3 million.

There was no response from the nonprofits to CapCon’s requests for comment. CapCon also sought comment from Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee; and committee members Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte; Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-North Muskegon; Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Niles; and Sen. John Bizon, R-Battle Creek. There was no response.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.