At the KBF, we have been incredibly thankful for our ability to rapidly increase the number and total sum of grants we are able to give each year, but there are other critical factors that we believe can improve how impactful we are. Put simply, it’s not just how many grants we can give, but when and to whom. Time and time again, we hear from recipients that spent decades with an injury before discovering adaptive sports, and the refrain is always the same: “I only wish I had learned about you sooner.”

There are a number of ways we want to work to address this timing gap. We have expanded our grant funding to include scholarships for first-time sports experiences; we’ve started hosting camps and clinics; we are developing the Active Project to foster a community of active people to support one another. On top of our programming, we are also working to increase our visibility and presence across the adaptive sports space. And based on the numbers from this fall’s Active Fund applications, we know we are making significant inroads on all fronts. 

For starters, we are thrilled to have the largest class of applicants (171) we have ever received! The sheer size of the class alone shows that more people are hearing about us and how we can have an impact on their lives. Additionally, based on our increased outreach efforts, we saw a massive increase in the number of people reading about the Active Fund (41% increase in web traffic year over year).

Even with the increase in traffic, a number of other key indicators of diversity remained strong. We continue to see strong numbers coming from the South (36% of our applicants this fall), an area we were previously under-represented. Additionally, we are continuing to see great applications for court sports, with 30% of applicants this fall applying for various types of sports chairs (that’s higher than our road handcycle requests!).

While we continue our efforts to make connections with rehabs, hospitals, and support organizations, we also owe a huge thank you to the SCI community. In this class, 45% of applicants heard about the Active Fund from a fellow SCI community member, including therapists, adaptive sports programs, people with SCI, and more. 

But there is always room for growth. For instance, we would like to see more applicants sooner after injury. We hope that by building partnerships with rehabs and smaller SCI hospitals, we can have an impact more immediately in the recovery process. We also intend to increase our presence at events, and build relationships with local sports organizations and SCI support groups. If we can meet people at their first points of engagement in sports, then we can help them accelerate that journey to independence. 

No matter what, we are so excited about our growing impact and look forward to seeing how we continue to expand in the future. As we navigate the review process, each of these 171 stories push us to reach more people and seek new ways to make each journey easier than the last.

Get Notified When the Next Cycle Opens

If you are interested in applying for adaptive equipment, we have two grant cycles each year. One in the spring and one in the fall. Enter your email below to receive updates about the next grant cycle, as well as other adaptive sports news and opportunities. Stay tuned for when our 2023 Spring Active Fund Grant cycle will open!