The COVID-19 pandemic forced the sports world to pause, canceling countless competitions and postponing play worldwide. With the absence of sport, we have all felt the void—Americans across the country have come to recognize and appreciate the critical role that sport plays in our culture. At the same time, Team USA athletes continue to find creative and innovative ways not only to train, but to inspire and engage our communities.
It is in this spirit that the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Foundation have established the Team USA Service & Hope Award, a new annual grant awarded to both Team USA athletes who embody the Olympic values of Excellence, Respect and Friendship and the Paralympic values of Determination, Inspiration and Equality and charitable organizations whose missions are focused on inspiration and hope. Through this award program, we celebrate our athletes’ commitment to our communities, not only as members of Team USA, but as citizens who have the unique ability to inspire positive change through meaningful service and engagement.
For a detailed program overview including athlete eligibility and nonprofit organization requirements, download this FAQ.
The application is now closed.
FAQ For Athletes & NGBs
What is the Team USA Service & Hope Award?
A new annual grant awarded to both Team USA athletes who embody the Olympic values of Excellence, Respect, Friendship and the Paralympic values of Determination, Inspiration, Equality and charitable organizations whose missions are focused on inspiration and hope.
Organizations selected by the athletes must be tax-exempt United States organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and should have a focus on youth sport, physical activity, or health and well-being.
How do I apply for the Team USA Service & Hope Award?
The application period is now closed. Award recipients will be announced by December 10, 2021.
Athletes interested in applying submitted their application online by October 12, 2021. The application included:
- • Basic demographic and contact information for both the athlete and organization
• Two essays and four short answers from the submitting athlete describing how their work furthers the Olympic and Paralympic ideals, and how they serve and inspire their community
• A letter of recommendation from the organization detailing the impact of the athlete’s work on the organization and the population it serves
Award finalists will undergo a SafeSport and USADA check as well as a social media screen prior to the selection committee’s final award determination. In addition, each nonprofit organization will be screened to ensure it meets eligibility requirements and is in good standing to receive the award funding.
What is the award timeline?
April 2021 – program announced
September 20, 2021 – application opens
October 12, 2021 – application closes
November 2021 – review period
December 2021 – recipients will be announced no later than December 10, 2021
How much funding will be awarded?
Up to four $25,000 grants will be awarded on a yearly basis, with half of each award being directed to the award recipient’s nonprofit of choice. The remaining half will be awarded to the selected athlete to support their continued pursuit of excellence as they represent the Olympic and Paralympic ideals.
Where is the money coming from?
Who is eligible?
Elite, internationally competitive Team USA athletes—both currently competing and retired—who have contributed a significant number of volunteer or working hours to a single organization focused on youth sport, physical activity, or health and well-being in the past 18 months are eligible to apply.
Specifically, athlete eligibility includes:
- • All Olympians or Paralympians
• All "10 Year Athletes" as defined in Section 1.3 of the USOPC Bylaws
• Current, elite Team USA athletes who—in 2019, 2020, or 2021—have represented the U.S. at an elite competition and in an event or discipline included on the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American or Parapan American Games program. This includes:
• World championships or highest level of competition(s) of a given sport
• World cup, grand prix or equivalent elite international competition
• Pan American or Parapan American Games
• Continental championships
• National team
Who serves on the selection committee?
A selection committee will convene each year for meetings throughout the year to review applications, make determinations on grant award recipients, and announcement of such award recipients. This selection committee will consist of the following:
• One NGB representative, to be selected from and by the NGB Council
• Two AAC athlete representatives
• One USOPA athlete representative
• Two USOPF Directors or Trustees*
• One non-voting USOPF staff liaison
*One of the two USOPF Directors or Trustees will serve as chair of the selection committee. Term length for committee appointment is four years, beginning January 2021.
If you have general questions about the Team USA Service & Hope Award, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.