The Chamber is proud to announce its newest Community Partner, the Challenged Athletes Foundation! The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.
Since 1994, more than $64 million has been raised and over 11,000 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love.
Most recently, CAF has proudly announced unprecedented financial support through its annual Access for Athletes grant program, which provides financial assistance for adaptive sports equipment, sports prosthetics, coaching, mentoring and competition expenses for athletes of all ages and abilities who wish to live active lifestyles.
Through the 2015 distribution – the largest grant distribution to-date in the organization’s 21-year history – 1,709 challenged athletes in 32 countries are receiving a variety of grants representing more than $3.5 million in support, and a 16 percent growth in the number of approved grants over the 2014 program. The grants, which are one of the many ways CAF supports athletes with physical challenges, empower individuals to take part in life-affirming sports and fill an important void that otherwise can leave challenged athletes on the sidelines.
“My legs were crushed and amputated in 2012 when a taxi plowed into me, and after many surgeries and physical therapy I have now become able to walk again — often fooling people who don’t realize that I have prosthetic legs,” says 38-year-old Ariel Fishman, a first-time grantee from New York, New York. “I’ve now started to run again, albeit on prosthetics that feel ski boots, but I know that with the proper time, focus and equipment I will be able to return to distance running and the New York Marathon thanks to the help from the Challenged Athletes Foundation.”