Grant Recipient Spotlight
USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund Follow-Up: TriLatino
The USA Triathlon Foundation received 173 applications and more than $866,000 in requests for grant funding from USA Triathlon-certified race directors and race management organizations; USA Triathlon-certified coaches and clubs; and other individuals and organizations impacted by the pandemic. So far, the USA Triathlon Foundation has distributed more than $110,000 in grant funding, with additional recipients to be selected through the remainder of the year. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to share stories of some of the recipients.
TriLatino is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to increase the participation of Latinos in triathlon and endurance sports, promote healthy lifestyles and uplift their communities. The New York City based, all-inclusive club believes in making endurance sports equitable to drive diversity in backgrounds and skill levels.
When COVID-19 hit, TriLatino was challenged as a small non-profit, and members were challenged with the same adversity that communities of color as a whole have struggled with: COVID-19 cases in disproportionate numbers. In addition to health disparities in communities of color, the club also suffered from the “pause” on the global fitness industry, the closure of all business in New York City, and the suspension of schools, which in particular devastated their youth program. The TriLatino organization is primarily funded by membership dues, operating at extremely low to no margins in order to provide structured fitness and triathlon training at cost to members. COVID-19 brought core offerings to a halt.
A McKinsey study, “COVID-19’s Effect on Minority Owned Businesses in the United States,” published May 27, 2020, determined that organizations like TriLatino are three times as likely to experience financial distress, and as a result, to close because of a two-month revenue shock.
As a result of COVID-19, all TriLatino group training, both for adults and youth, was suspended indefinitely. It seemed the organization would not be able to have a 2020 season.
With the support of the USA Triathlon Foundation, TriLatino was able to adjust its program; provide support and affordable training options for adults who had been financially impacted so that they could maintain their fitness and mental health during these abnormal times; and transition the Juniors program into a virtual format.
Through the USA Triathlon Foundation funding, the TriLatino Juniors kicked off their virtual race series, in partnership with iTri, by completing a sprint-distance triathlon at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, New York featuring a 300-yard swim, 7-mile bike and 1.5-mile run. The following week, three teams completed a virtual duathlon racing inside parks and on the Bronx streets near Yankee Stadium.
“The impact of the funds was immediate. What was initially thought to have been a loss was replenished with a modified summer training and virtual race season full of possibilities. Our membership felt celebrated and renewed. Athletes impacted by COVID-19, now had access to the resources necessary to train and even race virtually.
“We are most looking forward to being truly who we are—family. Although we are connected online and through socially distanced training, everyone is anticipating ‘first hugs’ and a lot of the socializing we’ve missed throughout 2020.”
-Lisa Kay Davis