The U.S. Olympic Committee and Veterans Affairs announced on October 19 that they plan to provide more than $2 million in grants to Paralympic sports programs for disabled veterans and servicemembers. The Olympic Opportunity Fund, which is provided by the two organizations, distributed grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 dollars.
More than 90 USOC partner organizations received the grants. Some recipients included the Lakeshore Foundation, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, Penn State University and Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities. The organizations represented 35 states as well as Washington, D.C.
“This funding is helping to meet the need for Paralympic and adaptive sport programming for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces in communities across the country,” CEO of USOC Scott Blackmun said. “At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, there were 20 veterans and servicemembers on the U.S. team who accounted for a total of 13 U.S. medals. We hope to build on that success at the elite level as well as continue to grow the number of veterans participating in Paralympic and adaptive sport at the grassroots level moving forward.”
The Lakeshore Foundation, which received a grant for $25,000, has provided training and recreation for injured veterans since 2006, Alabama Live reported. The group announced that it will use the grant to expand its veterans benefits for physical fitness programs for injured service personnel.
“We were so uniquely positioned to be of service to these injured men and women,” Lakeshore spokesperson Jen Remick told AL.com. “This award will not only allow us to keep doing that work but allow us to enhance some of the work we’re doing with local veterans.”
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association also received a grant. The organization aims to help men and women who are wheelchair-bound to experience an activity that is often taken for granted by many: basketball. The first wheelchair basketball match took place in 1946. Before long, the organization was helping individuals around the globe.
Penn State University was another grant recipient. According to the Penn State Athletics department, the university hosts a variety of events to raise awareness about Paralympic games. It also assists athletes who compete on a daily basis. The university plans to hold its first grant-funded project on October 28 at the Penn State Multi-Sport Complex. Other upcoming events at the university include swimming and diving meets, Navy Safe Harbour athletic programs and a seated volleyball match.
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