Northwestern Mutual and the 2018 NCAA® Final Four® Announce New Partnership to Enhance Sports Programs for San Antonio Area Youth

San Antonio, TX – The San Antonio Local Organizing Committee (SALOC) and Northwestern Mutual’s San Antonio office announced a new partnership to enhance San Antonio Sports i play! afterschool program, the community legacy initiative of the 2018 NCAA® Final Four®.

Through this partnership, Northwestern Mutual, an official NCAA Corporate Partner, will support the addition of basketball to the sports programs offered in the San Antonio Sports i play! afterschool program. i play! afterschool is a skills-based afterschool initiative that provides early-stage sports development, nutrition and character education for third through fifth grade students in underserved areas of San Antonio.

“Our mission at Northwestern Mutual in San Antonio is to inspire action and maximize potential in our local community, so we are thrilled to partner with i play! afterschool,” said Steve Mannebach, Managing Partner for Northwestern Mutual. “This important program provides kids with the foundational skills to help them succeed throughout their lives.”

More than 1,100 children from i play! afterschool’s 45 elementary schools in the San Antonio and Harlandale school districts participate in the annual 25-week program which includes sessions for tennis, track, soccer, volleyball and now basketball. Every child in i play! afterschool receives a backpack, t-shirt, shorts and athletic shoes.

“San Antonio has been truly blessed by the partnership formed with the NCAA and through the support from their Corporate Partners and Champions like Northwestern Mutual,” said Russ Bookbinder, San Antonio Sports President & CEO. “Not only have they helped bring millions of dollars to our community, but they help our city shine in the national spotlight, and provide countless opportunities for our youth to reap the benefits of hosting a Final Four.”

The culminating tournament for i play! afterschool’s basketball unit will take place March 10, 2018, at Mission Concepción Sports Park, with the final four teams advancing to play the semifinal and championship games inside the NCAA Fan Fest presented by Capitol One during Final Four weekend. Each child in the program will receive a special basketball jersey, basketball and tickets to attend Fan Fest for their family.


Mary Ullmann Japhet
San Antonio Sports

Carolyn Wheat
San Antonio Sports

Amanda Lee
Northwestern Mutual