USRowing Receives VA Grant for Ninth Consecutive Year | Sports Destination Management

USRowing Receives VA Grant for Ninth Consecutive Year

Oct 26, 2022

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs announced that USRowing has been awarded an Adaptive Sports Grant to support our community-based Freedom Rows programs throughout the United States for the ninth consecutive year. This year's grant of $475,000 will continue to support and develop rowing for our U.S. veterans. 

USRowing's national program dedicated to changing lives for veterans with disabilities and members of the armed forces, Freedom Rows has been awarded grants of over $3 million since its inception in 2014.

Freedom Rows has grown from six programs in its first year to more than 33 programs serving an average of 1,000 veterans each year. This year's grant will allow USRowing to further expand the Freedom Rows program beyond the existing programs. 

"We are coming back stronger than ever," said USRowing Adaptive Programs Associate and Freedom Rows Coordinator Deb Arenberg. "The worldwide pandemic hit our rowing programming especially hard, including our most vulnerable populations like our injured veterans and rowers with disabilities. As we enter our ninth year, Freedom Rows has a proven track record of providing veterans with the opportunity to improve their physical and mental well-being, and we will continue to provide the best programming possible to meet the goals of every veteran with whom we work."

The Adaptive Sports Grant Program provides grant funding to organizations to increase and expand the quantity and quality of adaptive sports activities for veterans with disabilities and members of the armed forces. Funding allows athletes to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sports programs at the regional and national levels.

"We are excited to continue our partnership with the VA again this year," USRowing Executive Officer Amanda Kraus shared. "Veterans who row tell us how much rowing means to them -- the freedom of being outside and on the water; the impact of their strong relationships with their coaches and teammates; the thrill of competing; the joy of winning; the confidence from training hard. These are not unique experiences in our sport. But being able to provide a meaningful experience to veterans who have been through so much and done so much for our country, that is very special. We have so much gratitude to the VA for its continued support of the Freedom Rows program."

Grant funds will be used to continue existing Freedom Rows programming, build additional programs, send qualified athletes to competitions, purchase needed adaptive rowing equipment, and supplement coaching fees.

New Freedom Rows Programs include Otsego Area Rowing, Cooperstown, N.Y.; Three Rivers Rowing Association, Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Watuppa Rowing Center, Fall River, Mass.

Participants in Freedom Rows programs have reached the elite level, with more athletes expected to compete in events including The Head of The Charles Regatta, San Diego Crew Classic, USRowing Indoor National Championship, and more. One Freedom Rows athlete -- Russell Gernaat from Lake Casitas Rowing Club in California -- competed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and has raced at multiple world championships including 2022. 


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