In Kelly’s Words – Why I love our partnership with the World Cup

 

Two young rippers (wearing KBF hats) watching the 2016 World Cup Slalom at Killington

Ski racing was my first love. I loved it from when I was a little kid through racing at Middlebury and still today. Even in the days after my accident (I was injured in a ski race in 2006) I was never resentful of skiing and I never felt like I didn’t want to ski again. I remember laying in my hospital bed in the days after my accident watching ski racing in the Olympics and thinking how awesome it was ski racing was getting national attention.

 

The original purpose of the Kelly Brush Foundation was to fix a lack of focus on safety in ski racing. It led to my injury and I wanted to change that. For several years, leading the charge to improve ski racing safety was the largest part of our mission.

 

Over the last 5-6 years, however, we have seen an explosive growth in the demand for our adaptive sports equipment grants. Don’t get me wrong, we do more and spend more to improve ski racing safety every year, but as a percentage of our total mission expenses, it has been eclipsed and then some by adaptive sports. In 2017, for every $5 we spend, $4 will go to the adaptive sports mission and $1 to the ski racing safety mission (see announcements of our Spring Adaptive Sports Cycle, Summer Ski Racing Safety Cycle, Fall Adaptive Sports Cycle).

 

So when the Killington World Cup local organizing committee approached us about helping them improve safety on the hill during the World Cup, we saw a big opportunity. As our communications become more and more adaptive sports focused, this presented a way to talk about safety to the community it benefits and who has been loyal in our support. By being involved in the World Cup, we will be presenting a model for safety for all of the coaches, officials, and volunteers that will be there that they should seek to replicate as best as possible on their home hills. Even better, the fencing and equipment we’re buying will be used for local Killington and other Vermont races throughout the year.

 

Our partnership with Killington will also, I hope, be a way to show our core supporters that we are still as focused as ever on ski racing safety. We are really excited to have a big presence at the World Cup both on the hill (look for our logo!), with a booth in the expo village (come say hello!), and in hosting a not-to-be-missed Après (link here to Facebook event). The Après will be a true celebration of eastern ski racing.

 

So my challenge for you: when you’re at the World Cup, watching it on TV, or seeing pictures online, notice how the hill looks, where the netting is placed, and the protection around every obstacle. Then every time you’re setting a course, watching your kids ski a course, or watching a race, ask yourself: “what did we learn at the World Cup?”

 

Dylan Update:

 

Dylan’s has been saying more and more words recently! A few days ago we were outside and our dog brought a stick and dropped it. Dylan pointed to it and said “nick.” I realized that was a word I had never directly said to her or tried to get her to say but she learned it organically and is now saying it all the time. She has so many of these recently and it has been so fun to watch. We also were doing a few words in sign language early on with her and she really took to them. She now almost always says the word with the sign, but will always sign more, eat, please, thank you, and all done.

Announcing Our Biggest Grant Cycle Ever

 

We are welcoming 112 people into the #KBFamily!

 

This week we announced over $244,000 in grants to 112 people in 38 states. Our biggest grant class ever! These grants help individuals with paralysis purchase adaptive sports equipment and go out and go!

 

Ryan Beale from Virginia finds out he’s part of the #KBFamily

Our Adaptive Sports Equipment Grant Program is open to anyone with a spinal cord injury who needs adaptive sports equipment to take their active lifestyle to the next level. In addition to demonstrating an eligible injury and financial need, our application asks people to explain: (1) what specific equipment they’re applying for (brand and model); (2) how much experience they have with that equipment (at an adaptive sports program or borrowing/renting elsewhere); (3) why that equipment is right for them; and (4) how it will change their life. Each application is reviewed by a Grants Committee that includes members of the KBF Board of Directors and figures from within the adaptive sports community.

 

Our grant program is set up to help anyone chase a dream, whether an adventurer seeking dirt and freedom, a parent who just wants to cruise the neighborhood with their kids, an elite athletes seeking the pinnacle of their sport, or a weekend warrior finding community or independence in being active. These experiences are even more powerful because the barriers to be active with paralysis are real: physical, financial, and even the belief that it’s possible.

 

We’re going to work hard to deepen our connections with members of the #KBFamily as our community grows. Look for the faces, names, and stories of our new members over the coming months!

 

 

Read the full press release:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Zeke Davisson, 802-846-5298 or [email protected]

 

 

KELLY BRUSH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES FALL 2017 ADAPTIVE SPORTS GRANT AWARDS
MORE THAN 100 AWARDS IN 38 STATES FOR EQUIPMENT TO BETTER LIVES OF THOSE WITH PARALYSIS

 

BURLINGTON, Vt. (Nov. 9, 2017)—The Kelly Brush Foundation has awarded 112 grants for adaptive sports equipment totaling $244,287 in support of the foundation’s mission to empower people with paralysis to live active and engaged lives, Executive Director Zeke Davisson, announced.

The grants are the foundation’s second round of Adaptive Sports Equipment Grants this year and its largest both in number of recipients and amount awarded, bringing this year’s total to $393,537 for the program.

“We cannot express how excited we are that the Kelly Brush Foundation continues to have such a powerful impact on the lives of so many living with paralysis by assisting with the purchase of specialized equipment that enables them to be active,” Davisson said. “Generous support from our donors has made it possible for us to more than quadruple our grant making in just three years. As we’ve increased our grant making, we’ve also seen demand grow. This year we received requests for $1.1 million in qualifying grants, more than three times just three years ago. These numbers motivate us to do even more to meet our mission and get more adaptive equipment to awesome people facing the challenges of paralysis.”

This fall’s grants went to recipients in 38 states. About half of the awards helped with the purchase of adaptive handcycles. Other equipment included monoskis, basketball chairs, quad rugby chairs, tennis chairs and ice hockey sleds.

The foundation also made grants totaling $33,712 through Path2Active partnerships with elite adaptive sports programs and rehabilitation hospitals. These grants have the same goal as the foundation’s individual grant program–empowering people to be active and independent–but are done in collaboration with programs that work directly with the people seeking equipment. Currently those partners are the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah; Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado; the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, Illinois; the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Through the Path2Active program, 10 alumni of Craig Hospital received grants. The two organizations share a devotion to bettering the lives of those with paralysis, said Tom Carr, Director of Therapeutic Recreation at Craig Hospital.

“Craig Hospital believes in the power of sport and recreation to foster inclusion and help develop confidence, independence and strength both physical and emotional. We also know that the cost of equipment can be a barrier to participation. Together with Kelly Brush Foundation our Adaptive Equipment Scholarship is a way for us to partner with our graduates both to ensure they are getting the right piece of equipment and also to supplement a financial shortfall that prohibits them from acquiring equipment on their own,” Carr said.

Applications for Spring Cycle Adaptive Equipment Sports Grants will be taken starting in January with awards announced in March 2018. Visit www.kellybrushfoundation.org for information.

About the Kelly Brush Foundation: The Kelly Brush Foundation is a Vermont-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization inspiring and empowering people with paralysis to live active and engaged lives and improving safety in the sport of alpine ski racing. The foundation has helped purchase more than 600 pieces of adaptive sports equipment for individuals with paralysis. In addition, the foundation has supported ski clubs and race organizations in efforts to improve ski racing safety, helping protect thousands of racers around the country with safety netting, trail widening projects and awareness campaigns. Kelly Brush, together with her family, started the foundation in 2006 after she sustained a spinal cord injury while racing in NCAA Div. 1 competition as a member of the Middlebury College Ski Team in Vermont. www.kellybrushfoundation.org

###

We’re Hiring – Brand Marketing Manager

 

We’re really proud of the community and positive impact we’ve created. And we have a ton of fun doing it. Now we need someone to help us share those vibes with the world. We need the person who is going to deepen and create meaningful connections with all our constituents, bring our story to life, and take our brand and impact to the next level.

If you’re interested in applying (or just want more info), send your resume and a cover letter to [email protected]

 


 

Brand Marketing Manager

Company: Kelly Brush Foundation

Location: Burlington, VT

Commitment: Part-Time

Join our team as the first dedicated brand and marketing team member. As Brand Marketing Manager, you will be responsible for developing and executing a marketing plan, ensuring consistent brand usage, and expanding the national profile of the Kelly Brush Foundation. You will work closely with the Executive Director and entire team to hit established organizational goals while also having the opportunity to bring your own initiative, ideas, and personality to the organization. You will work closely with agencies, contractors, and freelancers to develop video, photo, and print assets.

Above all, we are looking for a team player. You will need to be committed to the mission, ready to roll up your sleeves, and willing to pitch in to do anything when necessary, however trivial, in a dynamic and growing organization.

Basically we need a rock star, will it be you?

Responsibilities

  • Develop and execute marketing strategy, encompassing web, email, social, and print
  • Produce valuable and engaging content that attracts, coverts, and creates deep connections with our mission and donor communities
  • Develop online and print collateral for events and other fundraising campaigns
  • Coordinate all other brand usage and communications

Requirements

  • Marketing experience
  • Excellent project management skills, attention to detail, and problem solving skills
  • A good eye for engaging graphic design and video and a love for great copy and witty communication
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Email marketing and website analytics experience (preferred)
  • Basic graphic design skills (preferred)
  • Social media experience (preferred)

About the Kelly Brush Foundation

We are dynamic and growing Burlington, VT–based non-profit inspiring and empowering people with spinal cord injuries to be active. We directly assist individuals and partner with organizations around the country to help people live their own active lifestyles. We also work closely with the alpine ski racing community to improve safety on the hill. We were founded in 2006 by Kelly and her family after Kelly sustained a spinal cord injury while racing in an NCAA alpine ski race.

 

In Kelly’s Words – I got to drive a NASCAR car…

 

I got to drive a race car! There are some things that I’ve always dreamed of doing. This wasn’t one of them! But some dreams find you.

 

For the backstory: A few months ago Zeke and I got a text from Tom Carr, head of Therapeutic Recreation at Craig Hospital in Denver (where I went to rehab after my injury), asking if I wanted to come down to Dover, Delaware on September 28 to drive a NASCAR car. Not an offer I was expecting, but not something I could say no to either. We didn’t get much information for a while other than a team which included Craig Hospital had developed a NASCAR car with hand controls.

 

An aside: I drive my car with special hand controls design for people who cannot use the pedals. They can be installed on any car by the same vendors that outfit minivans with ramps. Obviously the car has to be automatic, but other than that it can be any car. I have a special certification from the state on my license allowing me to use them.

 

Back to the story: When I got down there I learned that it was a collaborative effort between a neurosurgeon at Craig, engineers at the Air Force Academy, and a Denver-based company called Furniture Row, which sponsors the 78 car (Martin Truex Jr.) in the NASCAR Cup series. Together, they decided to make a NASCAR car that people with disabilities can drive. Making a car with hand controls on its own is not super ground breaking, but the team is collaborating on making cars that higher-level quadriplegics, with no arm or hand movement, can drive. That is some more serious technology.

 

I got to both ride shotgun with Truex Jr., the current NASCAR Cup leader, and then drive the car myself. Both were incredible experiences. There were 9 people with disabilities, including myself, with this group. With Truex driving, we hit 160 in the straightaways. Then we got to drive (though they engaged the governor a bit…).

 

Initially I was more excited to drive myself, but once I got in the car with Martin I had such an awesome time! It was so fast and so loud! We only got to do a few laps each since we only had a few hours with the track to ourselves but it was plenty to see what that speed feels like and feel the forces you get at those speeds. It was awesome!

 

I was actually really nervous to drive myself, in hindsight I’m not sure why. I went much slower than when I was with Martin (I was going about 90 I think) but it was incredible to get the feeling of driving on the track. The track in Dover is only a mile long (others are 2+ miles), which means the turns and even the straightaways are really banked to help with the forces. It felt like the car pulled where it wanted you to go and it was harder to control than I thought, though ironically (or maybe not so ironically) I felt easier the faster I went.

 

There was one other really big highlight about the trip. There was a guy down there named Jason who was actually a Spring 2017 KBF Grant Recipient! Because we hadn’t gotten much info about the trip, we didn’t know who else would be there. And because he travelled alone, he hung out a bunch with Zeke and me. An awesome guy that we’re thrilled to have part of the #KBFamily and an unexpected bonus to hang out with him in a context that didn’t revolve around the KBF!

 

After the day of driving we had a suite at the track to watch the races the next few days (there are a lot of secondary races around a NASCAR event). Zeke and I learned a lot from the other people that were there, both professional drivers and just from people who were big NASCAR fans (including Jason). Maybe I’m not the biggest NASCAR fan, but the experience was incredible and gave me a huge appreciation for what goes into it. And I have a new favorite driver!

 

Dylan Update:

For our trip to Delaware to drive the NASCAR we decided to leave Dylan in Vermont. This meant 3 nights away! I have left her for 2 nights once and a couple other times have left for 1 night, but 3 felt like a lot. She spent one night with my sister and 2 nights with my parents and, of course, she did great. We FaceTimed with her every night, ever time she saw us she would come up and say “mama” or “dada” with a big smile and get very excited, but then she would move on and keep playing. It was really fun to see her recognize us and be excited to see us but still not really care and have fun with my family. When we got back I kept thinking she was doing things that were so cute, but really I think it was that I had been away from her so everything she did seemed cute to me. What can I say, I guess I’m that mom that thinks everything their kid does is cute!

 

Kelly Brush Ride – Recap

12th Annual Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations hits $500,000!

 

We are still blown away. With 810 riders raising $514,499, we had 100 more riders and raised almost $100,000 more than last year. The proceeds will be used immediately to help purchase adaptive sports equipment for people with spinal cord injuries and advocate for and improve safety equipment for alpine ski race programs.
 

Visit Kelly Brush Ride Site                    View Photo Gallery

 

Kelly Brush Ride by-the-numbers:

  • $514,499 – raised (and still growing!)
  • 810 – riders (including 25 handcyclists)
  • 82 – volunteers (at the Start/Finish, water stops, and supporting)
  • 268 – riders fundraised, receiving donations from 2600+ donors
  • 91 – riders earned KBF Patagonia backpack (for raising $750)
  • 43 – riders earned KBF Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody (for raising $1500)
  • $438 – proceeds of ice cream donated by The Scoop back to the KBF

Top Fundraisers and Prize Winners:

  • Top Teams – GMVS ($55,410) | Midd ’84 & Friends ($53,059) [UPDATED]
  • Top Fundraiser – Rick Makin ($13,257)
  • Top New Fundraiser – Heidi Witherell ($5,025)
  • VBT Raffle Winner – JB & Dana, Boston, MA
  • Fat Bike Raffle Winner – Fred Dieffenbach (winner of raffle of those that raised $2,500+ or received 25+ donations)
  • See the whole Scoreboard here >

Special thanks:

  • VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations – Our title sponsor and great partner!
  • Middlebury College and the Middlebury Ski Team – Our gracious hosts!
  • Fundraisers – They go above and beyond to help us fulfill our mission.
  • Volunteers – The best make the best event!
  • Castleton University Ski Team – They drive an hour and a half and work from 6:30am to 6:00pm. We simply cannot thank this team enough!
  • EventSet – For providing the start/finish arch, bike racks, barriers, and photo backdrop.
  • The Scoop – For bringing the awesome ice cream truck!
  • All Our Sponsors Listed Below!

SAVE THE DATE –

13th Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

 September 8, 2018