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CAF awards US$4.8 million, its largest annual grant distribution


The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) will cap off its year-long 25th anniversary celebration in memorable fashion with its largest annual grant distribution in history.

CAF will make 3,260 individual grants to provide more support for adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses to individuals with physical challenges of all ages and levels. More than US$4.8 million in funding will be awarded to athletes from all 50 US states and 42 countries across 103 different sports and activities.

Without this critical funding, CAF notes that ‘participation in sports would be unattainable due to insurance practices that rarely cover these items and the high cost of adaptive equipment required to get in the game.’

“This 2019 grant distribution is a major milestone for the foundation and for all our athletes, supporters and friends, without whom we could not have established this incredible community that has positively impacted so many lives,” said CAF Chief Executive Director Virginia Tinley.

“The Heroes of Sport campaign champions the common spirit that all athletes share. Heroes of Sport know the time and sacrifice it takes to realize dreams. They share a belief that sports make us whole and we support our heroes in pursuing their athletic goals with the right equipment, community, coaching and programs. Our 2019 team of grant recipients are the best reflection of this message.”

CAF’s programs include funding grants for adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses, camps + clinics, Operation Rebound (for injured veterans and first responders) and mentorship opportunities. The heroes of sport in this year’s historic grant distribution represent 103 different sports and activities including track & field, adaptive fitness training, blind surfing, wheelchair rugby, equestrian, sled hockey and more.

“25 years ago, our goal was to help one person; and to see where it’s come from to now supporting 3,260 people in 42 countries around the world is unbelievable,” said Bob Babbitt, CAF Co-Founder and Chief Storyteller. “Celebrating the Heroes of Sport is about helping people realize their full potential in the face of adversity and circumstances beyond their control. Sports are the platform to help someone live their best life and that’s why we are so committed to providing access to not only equipment, but a supportive athletic community around the world.”

Through the generosity of partners such as Össur, YMCA, Vesco Metal Craft, Box Wheelchairs, Top End, Melrose Wheelchairs, J & L Pie Company and Eagle Sportschairs – CAF is able to provide support, products, and services to grant recipients.

2019 grant distribution facts and figures

103 sports
50 states + Puerto Rico
42 countries
Youngest grant recipient – age 4
Oldest grant recipient – age 77
29% under age of 18
39% are first-time grant recipients
35% are female
65% are male

Income breakdown
65% of households earn income between US$20K-50K/year
40% of households earn under US$20K/year

Breakdown by disability
22% Amputee
15% Paraplegic
14% Spina Bfida
13% Visually Impaired
11% Cerebral Palsy
5% Quadriplegic
5% Limb Difference
2% Polio
2% Muscular Dystrophy
11% Other



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