USA Triathlon Foundation Announces 2017 Grant Awardees and Jesse Thomas Scholarship Recipients

By USA Triathlon | July 20, 2017, 4:39 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The USA Triathlon Foundation today announced the recipients of $86,000 in grant funding to support underserved youth, Olympic-inspired youth and athletes with disabilities. In addition, the foundation announced the awardees of $12,000 in total grant funding for first-year professional triathletes through the Jesse Thomas Scholarship.

USA Triathlon Foundation Grants
A total of $86,000 in grant funding will be shared among 25 organizations to bolster opportunities for youth, paratriathletes and young Olympic hopefuls—the Foundation’s three focus areas.

The grant awardees, selected through an application process, each reflect the USA Triathlon Foundation’s mission of transforming lives by opening pathways to triathlon for all—particularly those who may not have found it possible otherwise. The Foundation’s annual grants ensure that the next generation of aspiring youth triathletes and paratriathletes enjoy the same opportunities and experiences as the many donors who made this funding possible. 

“It is a privilege to be able to support so many amazing organizations that are introducing triathlon to a new generation, while building self-esteem, discipline and a passion for healthy living,” said Jacqueline McCook, President of the USA Triathlon Foundation Board of Directors.

The 2017 USA Triathlon Foundation Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

  • Abigail White – Germantown, Md.
  • AERO – Madison, Tenn.
  • Athletes Serving Athletes – Lutherville, Md.
  • Athletic Mentors LLC / Team Athletic Mentors – Richland, Mich.
  • Challenged Athletes Foundation – San Diego, Calif.
  • Children’s Medical Center and Triple Threat Tough Youth Triathlon Team – Frisco, Texas
  • CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation – Monroe, Conn.
  • Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club – Chicago, Ill.
  • Endure Athletics Foundation – Murfreesboro, Tenn.
  • Exceeding Expectations Foundation – Cathedral City, Calif.
  • FIT FUNdamentals – Rio Rancho, N.M.
  • Glenn Hartrick – Jersey City, N.Y.
  • HSTriClub – St. Louis, Mo.
  • i-tri: Inspirational Triathlon Racing International – East Hampton, N.Y.
  • IRONKnights Parents Support Group – Lansdale, Pa.
  • Kenosha YMCA – Kenosha, Wis.
  • KidzTri3 – Doylestown, Pa.
  • Pillars of Promise – Pensacola Beach, Fla.
  • Running for Those Who Can't – Elma, N.Y.
  • The Happy Tooth Foundation – Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Tri Club of New England – R.I. and Southeastern Mass.
  • Tri-Masters Sports Initiative Programs – Chicago, Ill.
  • Turnagain Training – Anchorage, Alaska
  • Tuscaloosa Kids Triathlon benefiting Secret Meals for Hungry Children – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Vanderbilt Children's Hospital – Nashville, Tenn.

For additional detail on each of the grant recipients, visit usatriathlonfoundation.org.

The programs support a variety of initiatives, including engaging children in lifelong healthy habits; introducing the sport of paratriathlon to physically challenged individuals; and holding camps and events for aspiring youth and Olympic-hopeful triathletes. The funding will help offset the costs of equipment, uniforms, facility rentals, race entry fees, coaching services and more.

Visit usatriathlonfoundation.org to learn more about the USA Triathlon Foundation and supported programs, or to make an online, tax-deductible donation. For gifts-in-kind and bequests, email info@usatriathlonfoundation.org. One hundred percent of your 2017 donations go to supporting aspiring athletes and programs.

Jesse Thomas Scholarship

The Jesse Thomas Scholarship assists first-year professional triathletes with the expenses of training and racing at the elite level in an effort to kick-start their careers. Thomas, a six-time winner of the Wildflower Triathlon and two-time IRONMAN 70.3 champion, began racing as an elite in 2011.

In conjunction with the USA Triathlon Foundation, the Jesse Thomas Scholarship awarded $4,000 each to three rookie professional triathletes for the 2017 season: Alissa Doehla (Tryon, N.C.), Allison Linnell (Miami, Fla.) and Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.).

In addition to financial funding, Thomas will provide sponsorship and professional development advice to selected candidates. 

“I feel incredibly lucky to have had the support during my career that enabled me to eventually create this scholarship. I was overwhelmed by the quality of candidates, and the process of selecting them was extremely difficult,” Thomas said. “Ultimately, Alissa, Allison, and Tony struck me not only with their athletic talent and ambition, but also a natural professional and intellectual approach to the sport—something which I believe is just as important to ‘making it.’ Maybe most importantly, I believe each of them can and will have a positive impact on others in their respective communities through their outreach and personality. I'm honored to have them be the recipients of this award.”

To learn more about the Jesse Thomas Scholarship, visit leapdaysports.com.

About the USA Triathlon Foundation
The USA Triathlon Foundation was created in 2014 by the USA Triathlon Board of Directors as a separate tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. Under the leadership of its Trustees and Committee members, the Foundation serves as a means to create a healthier America through triathlon, and seeks to transform lives by opening up new pathways to the sport for all, especially those who are otherwise underserved. The USA Triathlon Foundation operates with the belief that every child should have the chance to participate, every paratriathlete should have the opportunity to compete, and every aspiring elite athlete should be able to chase his or her Olympic dream. Donations to the USA Triathlon Foundation ensure America's youth are introduced to the benefits and fun of a multisport lifestyle, athletes with disabilities receive the training, support and gear to be able to participate and excel, and the best aspiring young athletes have a chance to pursue their Olympic Dreams. Visit usatriathlonfoundation.org to learn more and donate today.

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).