Level Field Fund today announced the latest round of athlete funding to help support talented athletes in need of financial assistance with the release of 11 grants totaling more than $25,000. Athletes from skiing, snowboarding, swimming and judo with diverse backgrounds ranging from World Champion to Junior National Champion are among the grant recipients benefiting from the support of the Level Field Fund. Over the last 12 months, Level Field Fund has awarded 53 grants benefitting 40 athletes from five different sports totaling over $137,000 in direct funding support.
“We are funding talent and fueling dreams,” said Olympic gold medalist and founder of the Level Field Fund Ross Powers. “We started this initiative 10 years ago and continue to see and hear stories of athletes struggling to maximize their potential because they can’t afford it. We are committed to helping bridge the gap in funding so that athletes can compete on a level playing field.”
Level Field Fund, led by Olympic and World Championship gold medalists Powers, Daron Rahlves, Michael Phelps, Seth Wescott, and Lenny Krayzelburg and Founding Partner OrthoLite, is designed to provide qualified funding to uniquely talented athletes at critical stages of their development. With application deadlines every three months, athletes from all sports are welcomed and encouraged to apply.
“For me, competition experience has been the greatest way to learn and improve as an athlete,” said swimmer Alex Meyer, the first American from any sport to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. “The Level Field Fund provides funding for promising athletes to have these necessary experiences which they might not have been able to afford otherwise.”
Meyer (Allston, MA), the 2010 FINA World Open Water 25k Champion, qualified for the London Olympics when he finished fourth in the 10k open water race at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China. Meyer’s finish earned him his first nomination to the US National Team. The former All-American from Harvard University used his support from the Level Field Fund to help fund his season, which included a victory in the 10k at the 2011 USA Swimming Open Water National Championships.
“I am grateful to the Level Field Fund for allowing me such opportunities as they were all irreplaceable experiences on the road to achieving my dreams of going to the Olympics,” said swimmer Corrie Clark. “The Level Field Fund is a unique organization that provides athletes with the funds to participate in competitions that they normally would not be able to afford.”
Clark (State College, PA), a Pan-American Games silver medalist and short-course National Champion, enjoyed a successful season highlighted by a 4th place finish at the 2011 National Championships in the 100M breast stroke. Clark trains full time at Penn State University and support from the Level Field Fund allowed her to compete at the 2011 U.S. National Championships and in USA Swimming’s Grand Prix Series with hopes of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic team.
“The Level Field Fund has given me opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t even be an option,” said snowboarder Alex Tuttle, who works for his father’s construction business in the offseason but doesn’t earn enough to cover the growing travel expenses on the World Cup circuit. “They are giving me the opportunity to keep pursuing my dreams of representing the U.S. at the Winter Olympics.”
Tuttle (Stratton, ME), a bronze medalist at the 2010 Junior World Snowboard Cross Championships, notched his first two top-15 results on the World Cup Circuit last winter with the help of his first Level Field Fund grant. The only non-U.S. Team rider to make the top-32 in his entire FIS World Cup career, Tuttle will rely on support from the Level Field Fund to travel to more World Cups in 2012 as he moves closer to his dream of qualifying for the Olympic team.
“The Level Field Fund has been a huge help in allowing me to go after my goal of being on the U.S. Ski Team,” said mogul skier Alison DiGravio, who previously had to forgo training trips and workouts because she needed to work to earn money to cover her competition costs. “It has given me the chance to focus more of my time and energy on training and less on the financial pressures of the sport.”
DiGravio (Farmington, ME), the fourth place finisher at the 2011 National Mogul Skiing Championships, scored two top-15 World Cup finishes, including 9th place in her World Cup debut. Her strong season earned her a nomination to the US Ski Team Development Group and her Level Field Fund grant affords her the opportunity to compete in the Nor-Am tour and World Cup competitions as she aims to move up to the US Ski Team.
In addition to financial assistance, the Level Field Fund also offers recipients access to additional benefits through supporting partners Under Armour and Speedo to further support athletes in their training and competition activities. Grant applications are available for download at www.levelfieldfund.org; requests submitted through November 15, 2011 will be evaluated for funding this winter.
About Level Field Fund: The Level Field Fund is a grant-giving program that is committed to funding talent and fueling dreams for uniquely talented athletes whose opportunity to pursue excellence in sport would otherwise be limited by their financial situation. The Level Field Fund was established in 2010 and is a program of the Ross Powers Foundation. For more information, please visit www.levelfieldfund.org or follow us on online at www.twitter.com/levelfieldfund and www.facebook.com/levelfieldfund.
About OrthoLite: OrthoLite, Founding Partner of the Level Field Fund, is the world’s leading supplier of open cell foam insoles found in more than 100 million shoes each year including, Asics, New Balance, Merrell, Nike, Vans, Puma and Timberland. OrthoLite combines polyurethane and recycled rubber to provide superior cushioning, comfort, breathability and durability. OrthoLite, headquartered in Amherst, MA, was originally founded in 1997 and is a product of O2 Partners LLC. For more information, visit ortholite.com.