(Patty Godoy and Lilly Travieso, Co-Founders of ELLA Sports Foundation)

Patty Godoy, a nurse from Burbank, California and her husband Manny Travieso were always proud of their daughter Lilly, who began playing softball in elementary school. Over the years, they saw how their daughter became passionate about playing softball and dreamed of playing the sport at a top university someday. Lilly embarked on a strenuous mental, physical, and academic journey to achieve her dream. However, along the way, she discovered the many obstacles and disparities faced by Latina athletes culturally and economically. With the help of her parents, Lilly applied to and was accepted to Cornell University on a sports scholarship. Watch Video Story.

Her experience navigating training and recruitment challenges encouraged Lilly to find a way to help other young Latina athletes like herself to have the same opportunities. She wanted all young female athletes to have the mentorship and support they need as they embark on their own athletic, academic, and professional journeys. With the help of her mother, Patty Godoy, Lilly founded ELLA Sports Foundation, a 501©(3) non-profit with a mission to support young Latinas to become leaders of tomorrow through sports and academic excellence.

“My parents and I learned so much while navigating the process of college recruitment, I wanted to find a way to impart all that knowledge to other girl athletes looking to continue their sports career in college,” says Lilly. “That was the genesis of ELLA Sports Foundation, and I’m so proud and thankful to my mom for encouraging me and working with me to establish the foundation.”

“Through ELLA Sports Foundation, we are leveling the playing field for girl athletes everywhere,” says Patty. “ELLA provides guidance and resources to young female athletes from Jr. High through High School, College and beyond, applying three principles: EMPOWERMENT AND LEADERSHIP: Guide young Latina athletes to seek and find opportunities for advancement; OPPORTUNITIES: Use Sports as a vehicle to grow athletically, academically and personally; and COMMUNITIES. Guide young Latina athletes to establish and expand their network of contacts and communities to help themselves and others along the way.”

According to a recent New York Times article titled “The Income Gap Is Becoming a Physical-Activity Divide” by Matt Richtel, published on March 24, 2023:

“Nationwide, poor children and adolescents are participating far less in sports and fitness activities than their more affluent peers.”

“Data from multiple sources reveal a significant gap in sports participation by income level. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 70 percent of children from families with incomes above $105,000 – four times the poverty line – participated in sports in 2020. But participation was around 51 percent for families in a middle-income range, and just 31 percent for families at or below the poverty line.”

ELLA continues to expand its network and provide resources, training and access to coaches, recruitment opportunities as well as empowerment workshops. The organization has donated sports equipment to girls’ teams in several high schools as well as provided funds, support, and advocacy to improve conditions for girls’ sports teams everywhere.

ELLA, which stands for Empowering Leadership in Latina Athletes, seeks to develop strong Latina leaders that will positively impact their communities while establishing their own legacy. The ELLA network provides young female athletes with opportunities to prepare themselves with college preparatory courses, high quality training, valuable networking, athletic and college mentorship, and exposure to leadership opportunities.

ELLA offers:


·      Educational Conferences ·      Leadership Development ·      ACT/SAT Preparation
·      College Recruitment Guidance ·      Athletic Mentorship ·      Trainings
·      Skill Development ·      Community Outreach ·      Sponsorships
·      Volunteer Opportunities ·      Professional Networking ·      Internships
·      ELLA High School Clubs    


Donate to ELLA at: www.ellasportsfoundation.org

Follow ELLA on social media: