SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF), a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved and stay involved in sports, is proud to announce an unprecedented amount of funds distributed to athletes with physical disabilities. Beginning April 1, CAF will distribute grants to 1,469 challenged athletes in 29 countries totaling more than $3.1 million in support through its annual Access for Athletes grant program. The grants, which are one of the many ways CAF supports challenged athletes, will fund adaptive equipment (such as handcycles, sports chairs and running feet), training and coaching, and competition expenses that will enable athletes with physical challenges of all ages and abilities to take part in life-affirming sports.
“The benefit of a CAF grant goes so much deeper than the obvious,” says Viktor White, a past CAF grant recipient. “Thanks to each of the grants I have received, I have been able to stay fit, experience higher levels of competition, and make many new friends, both from this country and abroad. Most importantly, I have been able to pursue personal excellence with a passion. With CAF's assistance I can dare to dream of greater achievements. I have been able to set more goals and to continue moving forward in my training without being as seriously impacted by the inevitable financial setbacks that we all run into.”
This year’s CAF grant program has shown record growth - from the number of applications received and the number of grants approved, to the number of sports supported. The determination and commitment of CAF’s donors, sponsors and fundraisers enabled the organization to fund this historic number of grants. To mark the 2014 grant distribution and showcase the broad spectrum of challenged athletes and sports represented, CAF is personally surprising grant recipients across the U.S. during the first-ever Grant Week, April 1 – 8.
Highlights of CAF’s Access for Athletes program growth include:
- 17% growth in number of applications received over 2013
- 30% growth in number of grants approved over 2013
- 24% growth in number of sports supported (new sports include Zumba, Wheelchair Skateboarding, figure skating, Cross Fit and aerial dancing)
Highlights of CAF’s 2014 grant distribution include:
- 88% of grant requests received by CAF were approved
- 53% of those approved are first time CAF grant recipients
- 13% are wounded military personnel and first responders (supported by CAF’s Operation Rebound program)
- 47% reported an income of less than $20,000 per year
- 72% of grantees are men; 28% are women
- All ages are represented (the youngest grantee is 2 years old, the oldest is 74)
- Most requested pieces of equipment are: basketball chairs (168), handcycles (114), sports prosthetics (89) and bicycles (58)
“CAF exists to help bridge the barrier between what medical insurance companies don’t cover, and the adaptive sporting equipment challenged athletes need to get active and be healthy,” said Virginia Tinley, CAF’s Executive Director. “CAF’s annual grant program fills an important void that otherwise can leave challenged athletes on the sidelines.”
Since 1994, CAF has raised more than $53 million and provided direct financial assistance to more than 9,500 challenged athletes around the world. CAF’s other programs – Catch a Rising Star (no-cost sport and mobility clinics for challenged athletes), Operation Rebound (support for injured military personnel and first responders), Reach High (outreach to educate communities about “what is possible”) and Project N.Ex.T (a San Diego County mentoring program that provides one-on-one support and role models for challenged athletes) – combine to impact an additional 60,000 people each year.
Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $53 million has been raised and more than 9,500 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more, log on to www.challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.