Stephen A. Schwarzman Increases 2020 Support to $875,000 – 100 Track & Field Elite Athletes Receive New Grants

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Stephen A. Schwarzman Increases 2020 Support to $875,000 – 100 Track & Field Elite Athletes Receive New Grants

PITTSBURGH – The Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on the sports industry.  The event calendar for athletes, organizers, and fans has vanished – track & field is no exception. While the world struggles to deal with the consequences of this crisis, our track & field professionals are challenged in ways they never imagined.  The USATF Foundation and its Board of Directors recognize this hardship and have been actively working to find solutions for America’s Olympic hopefuls.  Hundreds of track & field professional athletes are in severe financial trouble because nearly all of the opportunities to compete and earn income have been cancelled or postponed.

Last month, The USATF Foundation hosted a virtual town hall meeting to speak with the athletes directly to understand their individual issues. Over 30 athletes participated, all communicating that 2020 would be a difficult year not only to secure adequate training but to make ends meet.

With this need in mind, the Foundation has taken a leadership role on several fronts, the first being increased and broader financial support of athletes. With the Foundation’s Elite Athlete Development Program grants on the horizon, financial funding will be at an all-time high. Over 150 athletes are expected to receive direct support from the Foundation in 2020.  The athletes also recognize they can make a difference.  During thNEW YORK CITY – The postponement of the 2020 Olympics and interruption of the normal global competition season as a result of COVID-19 has created unique challenges for the country’s elite track & field athletes. With money-making events and sponsorships scarce, many athletes face uncertainty about how to make ends meet as they try to maintain training regimens and weigh overall concerns for the health of themselves and their families.

In response to these circumstances, Stephen A. Schwarzman announced that he is increasing his available grant funds through the USA Track & Field Foundation in 2020 by $250,000, bringing his total to $875,000.

“I’m proud to increase my support for these athletes during this unprecedented time,” said Mr. Schwarzman. “Their resolve and determination in the face of this unexpected challenge can be a lesson for all of us.”

Making a direct impact on the track and field community, Mr. Schwarzman’s grants will significantly increase the number of athletes that receive funding from the USA Track & Field Foundation. With the 2020 Diamond League, Olympic Trials and Tokyo Games being postponed or cancelled, many athletes will face a year-long struggle to finance their training and living needs. The Stephen A. Schwarzman grants will provide a bridge and safety net to these dedicated athletes until a sense of normalcy is restored.

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“I would like to thank Mr. Stephen Schwarzman for his very generous support to Track and Field. His support came at a time when we needed it most, and has given us hope. This is an extremely difficult time; the recognition will help us keep up the focus, train even harder and plan accordingly for the big task ahead,” stated four-time Stephen A. Schwarzman grantee and 5000m Rio Olympic silver medalist, Paul Chelimo.

This gift to the USA Track & Field Foundation allows for 100 athletes to benefit from Mr. Schwarzman’s support. 25 athletes will receive grants in the amount of $20,000 each and 75 athletes will receive grants in the amount of $5,000 each.

The 25 recipients of the 2020 Stephen A. Schwarzman Grant awards in the amount of $20,000 each are:

Brittany Brown 200m
Chase Ealey Shot Put
Christian Taylor Triple Jump
Craig Engels 1500m
Dalilah Muhammad 400m Hurdles
Daniel Roberts 100m Hurdles
Darrell Hill Shot Put
DeAnna Price Hammer Throw
Donavan Brazier 800m
Emma Coburn Steeplechase
Hillary Bor Steeplechase
Joe Kovacs Shot Put
Katie Nageotte Pole Vault
Kendell Williams Heptathlon
Keturah Orji Triple Jump
Lopez Lomong 10000m
Maggie Ewen Shot Put
Omar Craddock Triple Jump
Paul Chelimo 5000m
Phyllis Francis 400m
Ryan Crouser Shot Put
T J Holmes 400m Hurdles
Tori Franklin Triple Jump
Valarie Allman Discus Throw
Will Claye Triple Jump

The 75 recipients of the 2020 Stephen A. Schwarzman Grant awards in the amount of $5,000 each are:

Abdi Abdirahman Marathon
Aliphine Tuliamuk Marathon
Allie Ostrander Steeplechase
Amere Lattin 400m Hurdles
Annie Rhodes-Johnigan Pole Vault
Ben Blankenship 1500m
Bernard Keter Steeplechase
Brannon Kidder 800m
Brooke Andersen Hammer Throw
Chari Hawkins Heptathlon
Christina Clemons 100m Hurdles
Christopher Belcher 100m
Clayton Murphy 800m
Conor McCullough Hammer Throw
Courtney Okolo 400m
Dani Jones 5000m
David Kendziera 400m Hurdles
Devon Williams Decathlon
Dezerea Bryant 200m
Donald Scott Triple Jump
Elise Cranny 1500m
Emily Grove Pole Vault
Eric Jenkins 5000m
Erik Sowinski 800m
Freddie Crittenden 110m Hurdles
Hanna Green 800m
Heather MacLean 1500m
Jacob Riley Marathon
Jasmine Todd Long Jump
Jeron Robinson High Jump
Jessica Ramsey Shot Put
Jon Jones Shot Put
Josh Thompson 1500m
Kara Winger Javelin Throw
Keenon Laine High Jump
Kelsey Card Discus Throw
Kirubel Erassa 10000m
Laulauga Tausaga-Collins Discus Throw
Leonard Korir 10000m
Maria Michta-Coffee Racewalk
Mary Cain 1500m
Mason Ferlic Steeplechase
Mason Finley Discus Throw
Michael Cherry 400m
Michelle Carter Shot Put
Molly Huddle 10000m
Morolake Akinosun 100m
Nia Akins 800m
Nick Christie Racewalk
Nicole Greene High Jump
Nikki Hilz 1500m
Obi Igbokwe 400m
Olivia Baker 800m
Payton Otterdahl Shot Put
Rachel Schneider 5000m
Raven Saunders Shot Put
Reggie Jagers Discus Throw
Robby Andrews 1500m
Rudy Winkler Hammer Throw
Sam Mattis Discus Throw
Sam Prakel 1500m
Sean Donnelly Hammer Throw
Shadrack Kipchirchir 10000m
Sha’Keela Saunders Long Jump
Shakima Wimbley 400m
Shannon Osika 1500m
Shannon Rowbury 5000m
Sharika Nelvis 100m Hurdles
Solomon Simmons Decathlon
Stanley Kebenei Steeplechase
Trumaine Jefferson Long Jump
Tynita Butts High Jump
Vernon Norwood 400m
Woody Kincaid 5000m
Zach Ziemak Decathlon

The USATF Foundation will be announcing additional elite athlete grants in the upcoming days. e town hall, many current USATF Foundation grantees expressed a desire to forgo their allotted grant award in an effort to allow the USATF Foundation to help a greater number of deserving and troubled athletes.

“The Foundation has always done a phenomenal job with their efforts of open communication with their grant recipients. This spirit was heightened in the wake of the pandemic, as the Foundation’s Board put on several meetings to discover the needs and concerns the athletes may be facing while factoring in the social, emotional, and physical challenges. Additionally, the Board looked to locate possible opportunities where they could lend a helping hand. I am happy to be a Stephen A. Schwarzman Grant Recipient but admire all the Foundation has done for me in the midst of these uncertain times,” stated USATF Foundation grantee and two-time Olympic Champion Christian Taylor.

The Foundation also quickly realized during the town hall that athletes were having difficulty navigating the federal and state assistance programs that are available. USATF Foundation Director, Mark Lambert, who is a Partner at Cooley LLP, assembled a team of Cooley attorneys who generously donated their time and talents to guide athletes through the programs available to them.  James Rathmell, Chloe Kaufman, and Shannan Higgins created a guide for track & field athletes to reference when searching for assistance as well as hosting a webcast, which allowed the athletes the opportunity to ask questions and get personal assistance.

Additionally, the USATF Foundation and USATF partnered to donate funds for elite track & field athletes to purchase portable training equipment.  Since many state and/or local municipalities have placed restrictions on facilities where larger groups may gather, gyms and weight rooms are often closed or unavailable. To assist in bridging the gap between now and when restrictions are lifted, funds have been allocated to each Tier and TPP athlete in the amount of $400 towards the purchase of equipment for home use.

The USATF Foundation provides a means to attract and guide funds to new and innovative track and field programs with an emphasis on providing opportunities for youth athletes, emerging and experienced elite athletes, along with guidance on future career paths. The Foundation depends upon donations from its Board of Directors, major gifts, and from generous fans of track & field.

Elite athletes are supported by the Foundation via monetary grants, career counseling (mentoring and jobs) and participation in Run With US!. Youth athletes are supported via monetary grants to youth clubs.

For more information, or to contribute to the USA Track & Field Foundation, Click Here or contact Tom Jackovic at (412) 398-2484 or