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Women's Sports Foundation Announces "Travel & Training Fund" Grants

East Meadow, N.Y., August 17, 2010 – Today, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) announced the return of its highly successful Travel & Training Fund – an annual grant program which provides direct financial assistance to aspiring athletes with successful competitive records who have the potential to achieve even higher performance levels and rankings.

In 1984, when the fund was first established, the Women’s Sports Foundation was the first — and only charitable organization — to offer grants to female athletes with elite potential. Between 1984 and 2004, the Foundation awarded 1,200 grants to over 950 women athletes and 250 women’s teams in a diverse array of sports. Many of these athletes went on to capture national championships and Olympic medals, including figure skaters Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi, gymnast Kerri Strug, bobsledders Vonetta Flowers and Jill Bakken and wheelchair table tennis player Jennifer Johnson.

With amateur sports competitions being held daily around the globe and just under 18 months until the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Fund comes at a pivotal moment in the lives of athletes and their families. “The Travel & Training Fund supports female athletes in their quest for competitive excellence,” says Kathryn Olson, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “The scarcity of funding for women in sports continues to be a decisive factor in and potential barrier to their success. The Travel & Training Fund will help defray the costs of elite-level training for women athletes and their families and will allow them to focus on their athletic pursuits.”

In 2010, a total of $100,000 in funding will be available to support individuals and teams. Requests for assistance are considered for coaching, specialized training, equipment, attire and/or travel and will be based, in part, on need. Grants will range in size from $2,000 to $10,000, with the possibility of multi-year funding in exceptional cases.

The re-establishment of the Fund was first made public in 2009 at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards gala in New York City. The Salute, which honors the most accomplished women in sports, was the perfect setting in which to unveil the Foundation’s plans to revive the program. The Fund is one of several innovative programs introduced as part of the Foundation’s new vision.

Women’s Sports Foundation President Jessica Mendoza (Softball), President-elect Laila Ali (Boxing), Angela Ruggiero (Ice Hockey) and Michelle Kwan (Figure skating), will serve as athlete ambassadors for the program. Kwan, a five-time World Champion and two-time Olympic medalist, received a grant from the Travel & Training Fund (T&T) in 1993.

“The Women’s Sports Foundation’s Travel & Training Fund is a program near and dear to my heart. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of a T&T grant early in my career. This was truly a major factor in my development, and helped me realize my full potential as a figure skater. I am delighted that the Foundation has brought back this grant. Now, many aspiring U.S. athletes will have the opportunity to excel in their sport,” said Kwan.

The Fund is made possible through the generous donations of individuals, foundations and corporations. As national sponsor of the Women’s Sports Foundation, Gatorade® is also the first corporate partner to designate an annual gift to the Fund. “This partnership represents a continuation of The Gatorade Company's commitment to athletes,” said Sarah Robb O’Hagan, chief marketing officer for Gatorade. “We take pride in Gatorade's rich history of offering innovative solutions to fuel the performance of athletes with sports nutrition products. It is rewarding to know this annual gift provides us with another way to help gifted athletes reach the highest levels of achievement.” Gatorade’s three-year commitment will help fuel the dreams of women athletes and close the gap so that talented athletes can reach their full potential.

The application, criteria and guidelines for the Travel & Training Fund are all available on the Foundation’s Web site, www.WomensSportsFoundation.org/TravelandTraining. The official deadline for the first grant cycle is November 12, 2010. Recipients of 2010 grants will be announced in the first quarter of 2011.

About the Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation—the leading authority on the participation of women and girls in sports—advocates for equality, educates the public, conducts research and offers grants to promote sports and physical activity for girls and women. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, the Women’s Sports Foundation builds on her legacy as a champion athlete, advocate of social justice and agent of change. We strive for gender equity and fight discrimination in sports. Our work shapes public attitude about women’s sports and athletes, builds capacities for organizations that get girls active, provides equal opportunities for girls and women, and supports physically and emotionally healthy lifestyles. The Women’s Sports Foundation is recognized worldwide for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence. For more information, please call the Women’s Sports Foundation at 800.227.3988 or visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.

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