Joining the Legends Fund helps build and expand wrestling

By USA Wrestling | March 07, 2007, 9:05 a.m. (ET)
STILLWATER, OK February 28, 2007 - When the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 1976, it shared more than just office space with the United States Wrestling Federation (USWF). Both were founded by the same group of wrestling visionaries who foresaw the two organizations working together to serve a common mission in the sport.

In 1983, the USWF became USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport of wrestling. In 1988, USA Wrestling moved its headquarters to Colorado Springs, Colo., but maintained its close ties with the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Over the years, the two organizations have continued to share a cooperative partnership and common mission. Both organizations are dedicated to preserve, develop and grow the sport of wrestling, to honor its heroes, and to inspire future champions in the United States.

That shared vision and common goal have never been more evident than today with the Legends Fund, a joint program of the Hall of Fame and USA Wrestling.

"The Legends Fund is designed to provide important financial support for the activities these two organizations provide to thousands in our wrestling community, from the time young competitors first take the mat until a select few achieve the ultimate honor of induction into the Hall of Fame," said Jim Keen Sr., Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Hall.

"The program encourages and provides everyone in the sport an opportunity to become a stakeholder in "Growing the Sport and Honoring its Legends" as our motto for the Legend Fund proclaims," said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the Hall of Fame. "Because of our shared values and mission, both boards wanted to provide a mechanism to share resources for the common purpose of the sport. All Legends Fund gifts are split equally (50/50) between the two organizations."

Legends Fund brochures were mailed in December to 25,000 adult members and friends of the Hall of Fame and USA Wrestling. The response from the wrestling community was instantaneous.

"The initial December appeal produced 200 Legends Fund memberships and it continues to grow daily. This is a good start, but we have a long way to go. We want the majority of the wrestling community to enjoy the benefits of being a Legends Fund member," said Jim Ravannack, President of USA Wrestling. "Every gift makes a difference. For just $4.55 per month over 11 months, you can make a difference."

Legends Fund memberships range from the $50 Partner Level to the $10,000 Legacy Level. Gifts are tax-deductible. Donors are privileged to take part in a number of exciting rewards based upon the level of a gift, such as exclusive web site access and premium event tickets.

"A membership with the Legend Fund differs from joining USA Wrestling as an athlete, coach or official," said Rich Bender, Executive Director of USA Wrestling. "The revenue we receive from our participants goes right back into existing programs. The support from the Legends Fund memberships offer the financial freedom to expand existing programs and initiate new ones. It truly allows the sport to grow, strengthen and improve."

To receive a brochure and learn about membership levels and rewards, contact the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum or visit:

Legends Fund gifts are put to work immediately - directly benefiting the core programs and services that touch countless individuals involved with man's oldest and greatest sport. Your gift can make a big difference.