2012 was indeed a busy year – Kelly and Zeke’s engagement and wedding, a near hurricane during the Ride (that’s a first!), a full page Sports Illustrated article, and the new Venue Excellence partnership with USSA. With all that the Foundation continues to do its most important work: award grants to ski clubs around the country for ski racing safety equipment such as helmets, netting, and padding, and award grants to individuals living with a spinal cord injury to purchase adaptive sports equipment.
This year we received a record number of applications from ski clubs and individuals for our two grant programs. With nearly 60 applicants, the Board had their work cut out for them in reading and reviewing each and every one! They came together for a long and productive day in early December to finalize the grant awards and, in the end, were pleased to be able to award over $125,000 in grants. This is the most ever awarded and we are extremely proud of the achievement.
On the adaptive equipment side, awards of course included grants for handcycles and monoskis which are the most popular types of equipment requested, but this year there were also some more unique pieces of equipment purchased. These include an adaptive carriage for horse carriage racing, and an adaptive bowling chair. Whatever the equipment we are so pleased to be able to help these deserving athletes get back into the sports they love. Interestingly, we saw many more quadriplegics applying (and receiving) grant funding this year. This is encouraging to us, as it speaks to the increased availability of adaptive equipment for quads. We also added a category to our grant awards this year. For those athletes who have not yet tried an adaptive sport but know they want to, we were able to award funding for them to pay for up to five sessions at an adaptive athletic program of their choosing so that they can try out different equipment and sports before deciding which one works best for them and which they’d like to own.
On the ski racing safety side, we again awarded funding for many miles of b-netting and other padding and netting for race courses throughout the country. The exciting thing on this side is that our grant awards now require courses to be homologated before being awarded funding. In some cases, we have awarded funding provided the hill become homologated – and we have provided assistance to the clubs to make that happen.