The USA Triathlon Foundation has announced the recipients of US$86,000 in grant funding to support underserved youth, Olympic-inspired youth and athletes with disabilities. In addition, the foundation announced the awardees of US$12,000 in total grant funding for first-year professional triathletes through the Jesse Thomas Scholarship.
USA Triathlon Foundation Grants
A total of US$86,000 in grant funding will be shared among 25 organizations to bolster opportunities for youth, paratriathletes and young Olympic hopefuls – the Foundation’s three focus areas.
The grant awardees, selected through an application process, each reflect the USA Triathlon Foundation’s mission of transforming lives by opening pathways to triathlon for all – particularly those who may not have found it possible otherwise. The Foundation’s annual grants aim to ensure that the next generation of aspiring youth triathletes and paratriathletes enjoy the same opportunities and experiences as the many donors who made the funding possible.
“It is a privilege to be able to support so many amazing organizations that are introducing triathlon to a new generation, while building self-esteem, discipline and a passion for healthy living,” said Jacqueline McCook, President of the USA Triathlon Foundation Board of Directors.
The 2017 USA Triathlon Foundation Grants were awarded to the following organizations:
- Abigail White – Germantown, Md.
- AERO – Madison, Tenn.
- Athletes Serving Athletes – Lutherville, Md.
- Athletic Mentors LLC / Team Athletic Mentors – Richland, Mich.
- Challenged Athletes Foundation – San Diego, Calif.
- Children’s Medical Center and Triple Threat Tough Youth Triathlon Team – Frisco, Texas
- CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation – Monroe, Conn.
- Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club – Chicago, Ill.
- Endure Athletics Foundation – Murfreesboro, Tenn.
- Exceeding Expectations Foundation – Cathedral City, Calif.
- FIT FUNdamentals – Rio Rancho, N.M.
- Glenn Hartrick – Jersey City, N.Y.
- HSTriClub – St. Louis, Mo.
- i-tri: Inspirational Triathlon Racing International – East Hampton, N.Y.
- IRONKnights Parents Support Group – Lansdale, Pa.
- Kenosha YMCA – Kenosha, Wis.
- KidzTri3 – Doylestown, Pa.
- Pillars of Promise – Pensacola Beach, Fla.
- Running for Those Who Can’t – Elma, N.Y.
- The Happy Tooth Foundation – Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Tri Club of New England – R.I. and Southeastern Mass.
- Tri-Masters Sports Initiative Programs – Chicago, Ill.
- Turnagain Training – Anchorage, Alaska
- Tuscaloosa Kids Triathlon benefiting Secret Meals for Hungry Children – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital – Nashville, Tenn.
The programs support a variety of initiatives, including engaging children in lifelong healthy habits; introducing the sport of paratriathlon to physically challenged individuals; and holding camps and events for aspiring youth and Olympic-hopeful triathletes. The funding will help offset the costs of equipment, uniforms, facility rentals, race entry fees, coaching services and more.
Jesse Thomas Scholarship
The Jesse Thomas Scholarship assists first-year professional triathletes with the expenses of training and racing at the elite level in an effort to kick-start their careers. Thomas, a six-time winner of the Wildflower Triathlon and two-time IRONMAN 70.3 champion, began racing as an elite in 2011.
In conjunction with the USA Triathlon Foundation, the Jesse Thomas Scholarship awarded US$4,000 each to three rookie professional triathletes for the 2017 season: Alissa Doehla (Tryon, N.C.), Allison Linnell (Miami, Fla.) and Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.).
In addition to financial funding, Thomas will provide sponsorship and professional development advice to selected candidates.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have had the support during my career that enabled me to eventually create this scholarship. I was overwhelmed by the quality of candidates, and the process of selecting them was extremely difficult,” Thomas said. “Ultimately, Alissa, Allison, and Tony struck me not only with their athletic talent and ambition, but also a natural professional and intellectual approach to the sport – something which I believe is just as important to ‘making it.’
“Maybe most importantly, I believe each of them can and will have a positive impact on others in their respective communities through their outreach and personality. I’m honoured to have them be the recipients of this award.”