01 Jul 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.
“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:
|Chase Ealey||Shot Put|
|Christian Taylor||Triple Jump|
|Dalilah Muhammad||400m Hurdles|
|Daniel Roberts||100m Hurdles|
|Darrell Hill||Shot Put|
|DeAnna Price||Hammer Throw|
|Joe Kovacs||Shot Put|
|Katie Nageotte||Pole Vault|
|Keturah Orji||Triple Jump|
|Maggie Ewen||Shot Put|
|Omar Craddock||Triple Jump|
|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:
|Amere Lattin||400m Hurdles|
|Annie Rhodes-Johnigan||Pole Vault|
|Brooke Andersen||Hammer Throw|
|Christina Clemons||100m Hurdles|
|Conor McCullough||Hammer Throw|
|David Kendziera||400m Hurdles|
|Donald Scott||Triple Jump|
|Emily Grove||Pole Vault|
|Freddie Crittenden||110m Hurdles|
|Jasmine Todd||Long Jump|
|Jeron Robinson||High Jump|
|Jessica Ramsey||Shot Put|
|Jon Jones||Shot Put|
|Kara Winger||Javelin Throw|
|Keenon Laine||High Jump|
|Kelsey Card||Discus Throw|
|Laulauga Tausaga-Collins||Discus Throw|
|Mason Finley||Discus Throw|
|Michelle Carter||Shot Put|
|Nicole Greene||High Jump|
|Payton Otterdahl||Shot Put|
|Raven Saunders||Shot Put|
|Reggie Jagers||Discus Throw|
|Rudy Winkler||Hammer Throw|
|Sam Mattis||Discus Throw|
|Sean Donnelly||Hammer Throw|
|Sha’Keela Saunders||Long Jump|
|Sharika Nelvis||100m Hurdles|
|Trumaine Jefferson||Long Jump|
|Tynita Butts||High Jump|
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.