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The Women in the Winner’s Circle Project Podium grant is currently accepting applications. Deadline to apply is October 31, 2017.

History of the Program

A strong advocate for women in the motorsports industry, particularly women who aspire to the professional level in racing, Lyn St. James established the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation (WWCF) in 1994 as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to professional development for talented, up-and-coming young women in racing. One of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation’s programs was the Women in the Winner’s Circle Academy: The Complete Driver. The Academy became the most comprehensive educational and training program of its kind for gifted women racers providing the skills on the track and off the track to be competitive in motor sports. Since its inception, more than 230 women drivers from 5 countries and 33 states, including Danica Patrick, Erin Crocker, Melanie Troxel and Sarah Fisher, have participated in this invitation-only Academy.

Building on the success of this continuing program, St. James felt it was important to provide financial resources to these talented drivers as well as training.

In 2007, Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation announced the first ever scholarship fund for women race car drivers, Project Podium, with a donation from Paul Newman’s Newman’s Own Foundation. Since then, this industry wide scholarship fund has been available to female race car drivers from all forms of racing, including go kart, quarter midget, drag racing, sports car racing, oval track racing, etc. For a driver to be considered eligible to receive a grant, they must have had a minimum of 3 years of racing experience, and they need to provide proof that funds equal to the scholarship amount requested has been raised from sponsorship or other forms of support. Those who apply, qualify, and are approved will receive a grant on a matched fund basis only. One goal behind this program is to help teach drivers how to raise sponsorship funds.

In 2013, the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation combined resources with the Women’s Sports Foundation to establish the Women’s Sports Foundation Women in the Winner’s Circle Project Podium Grant for women in motorsports. All applications will be reviewed by a panel of motorsports experts under the leadership of Lyn St. James.

More information about Lyn St. James, the Women’s in the Winner’s Circle Foundation and The Complete Driver Academy may be found atwww.lynstjames.com.

Guidelines and Application

What is the purpose of the grant?
The overarching goal of the Women’s Sports Foundation Women in the Winner’s Circle Project Podium Grant is to provide direct financial assistance in the form of matching grants to women in racing to help further their professional careers. The Women’s Sports Foundation Women in the Winner’s Circle Project Podium Grant is a matching funds program focused on young women in racing who have demonstrated talent, hard work and perseverance with successful competitive records, who have the potential to achieve even higher levels of performance and the ability to generate sponsorship dollars to achieve racing and business success. The Women’s Sports Foundation Women in the Winner’s Circle Project Podium Grant process provides experience for drivers on the very important business aspect of the racing industry by the matching fund requirement.

What is the vision of the Women’s Sports Foundation Women in the Winner’s Circle Project Podium Grant?

  • Increase the number of women winning races and championships in key categories of motorsports;
  • Enhance the ability of women in racing to gain resources for expanded opportunities;
  • Create a diverse talent pool in the upper echelon of motorsports;
  • Highlight racing as a gender-neutral sport and gender-integrated industry; and
  • Empower drivers with ability to generate financial resources to grow and sustain their racing careers.

Who will administer the grant?
In addition to Lyn St. James, a panel of motorsports experts and business professionals selects each recipient from a list of qualified applicants.

Past Recipients

• Makala Marks, 14, Avon, IN – Karting
• Courtney Crone, 16, Corona, CA – USAC Midgets/Sprint Cars/Formula Mazda
• Ayla Agren, 20, Norway – USAC Midgets, World Sports Formula Car Championship
• Jessica Brunelli, 16, Hayward, CA, NASCAR Modified Series/USAC Ford Focus
• Sabre Cook, 19, Grand Junction, CO – F1600 or Skip Barber Racing Series
• Natalie Fenaroli, 12, Raymore, MO, go kart racer
• Taylor Ferns, 17, Washington Township, MI– USAC Silver Crown/National Midget Series
• Alesi Gerthe, 19, Rockdale, TX, IHRA & NHRA Quick Rod
• McKenna Haase, 16, Des Moines, Iowa – 305 Sprint Cars
• Brie Hershey, 17, Dillsburg, PA, 358 Sprint Car Driver
• Shea Holbrook, 23, Groveland, FL– SCCA Pirelli World Challenge
• Brandie Jass, 15, Bryan, TX Mini sprint racer
• Justine Jackson, 20, Kingston, Jamaica, go kart racer
• Rebecca Kasten, 18, Megon, WI, ASA Late Model Stock Car Series
• Kristy Knoll, 13, Amherst, NY, go kart racer
• Zoe Mattis, 13, Pottstown, PA, Micro Sprint Car Series
• Megan Reitenaur, 17, Miamisburg, OH, stock car racer
• Miranda Throckmorton, 16, Coatesville, IN, sprint car racer
• Stacy Warrington, 18, Milton, DE, Super Late Model Stock Cars

Guidelines and Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements and evaluation criteria for the program?
In order to be eligible for a Women’s Sports Foundation Women in the Winner’s Circle Project Podium grant, women drivers must:

1. Provide proof that funds equal to the funding amount requested have been raised from sponsorship or other forms of support for her racing for the specific racing series and season identified.

2. Have a minimum of three years of racing experience.

3. Complete the Women’s Sports Foundation Project Podium Online Grant application. You will need to register with the Foundation’s grant-management system to access the application. Under the organization information, please enter the information for your Team. A Tax ID number is not required to register (so you may leave that space blank).

4. Write, in 250 words or less, an explanation specifically identifying the need and how the grant will be used;

5. Provide a complete racing resume with available supporting documentation such as qualifying sheets or box scores; media coverage; photographs, etc.;

6. Provide driver/team personnel, vendor/supplier/racing series, and sponsorship information;

7. Provide reference letters, if available;

8. Agree to provide final report(s) about how the funding was used and results; and

9. Promote Women’s Sports Foundation through logos, inclusion in media materials and interviews.

Applications are evaluated and grants are awarded to the following criteria:
1. Financial need;

2. Present and potential level and ranking;

3. Show of support from traditional motorsports sources; (ex. Tires, fuel, lubricants, apparel)

4. Potential impact of grant on advancing women in motor sports;

5. Priority given to those who present a plan for reimbursing the grant in the future, whether financially or otherwise contributing to women in motor sports;

6. Limit of grant request is based on the grantee’s ability to secure matching funds (1:1) from sponsors or other resources; and

7. Grantees will be required to display a Women’s Sports Foundation mark (logo) and Project Podium patch on their race suit and/or helmet and decals on race vehicle and support equipment (location TBD) as well as include information regarding the grant in press and marketing materials, including websites.

How many grants are awarded and for what amount(s)?
The number of grant(s) shall depend on the number of qualified applications received and the amount of funding available annually.

What are the deadlines and other relevant dates?
The 2018 application window is from August 1 through October 31. Applicants will be notified by November 30th and the 2018 grants will be awarded the first quarter of 2018.

Questions

After reading the above guidelines carefully, if you have any questions, please call Elizabeth Flores at 516.307.3915 or e-mail her here.

Donate

Help us ensure that women in racing achieve racing and business success.Donate to the Women in the Winner’s Circle Project Podium Grant Fund here.

Please make checks payable to: “Women’s Sports Foundation – Project Podium Fund” and mail to Women’s Sports Foundation, Eisenhower Park, 1899 Hempstead Turnpike, Suite 400, East Meadow, NY, 11554.