Gompers: USAT Foundation Helps Others Experience Joy of Triathlon
by USA Triathlon Foundation
Paul Gompers considers himself fortunate to have participated in sports from a young age. His athletic career spans All-American honors in cross country and track at Harvard, qualifying as an alternate for the 1988 Olympic team and racing triathlons as a top age grouper for more than 15 years.
Athletics also brought him and his wife, Dr. Jody Dushay, together during their time on the Harvard track team. After recovering from a serious knee injury and surgery, Paul set a goal of racing a triathlon in 2006. Since then, he and Jody have adopted the triathlon lifestyle, which includes qualifications for Team USA and IRONMAN world championships.
By supporting the CEO Excellence Fund, Paul and Jody are opening pathways to tri for youth, adaptive athletes and Olympic/Paralympic hopefuls. They hope others will be able to enjoy the sport as much as they have and experience the personal fulfillment it brings.
“Competing in triathlons really spreads to the rest of your life—setting goals, working hard and bettering yourself,” Paul said. “With the USA Triathlon Foundation, we’re able to spread that opportunity to folks who wouldn’t otherwise have that opportunity.”
Paul is passionate about increasing gender and racial diversity in the sport. As a member of the USA Triathlon Foundation Board of Trustees and Grant Committee, he’s involved with reviewing and awarding grants. Recent Pillar Grant awardees include organizations who teach swimming in inner cities and provide bikes to kids in need so they can participate in their first triathlon.
Creating opportunities for more people to swim, bike and run is vital as Paul believes triathlon’s impact goes much further than just physical benefits.
“I draw a lot of life and business lessons from the world of athletics,” said Paul, who studies start-ups. “I’m a firm believer that the life lessons you learn through sports are really useful outside the realm of competing.”
Having been part of the Board of Trustees for six years, Paul has watched the Foundation grow into what it is today. This year, the non-profit awarded more than $100,000 in Pillar Grants supporting multisport athletes, programs and initiatives across 27 states.
In the future, he’d like to see the Foundation help create youth triathlon programs in every state, like USA Triathlon’s new youth program being developed in underrepresented communities in New Jersey and Philadelphia that is a result of a partnership between the USA Triathlon Foundation, Dottie and John Cassimatis and the Leff Family Foundation. Additionally, he wants to work to help the Foundationestablish an endowment and grow its annual Pillar Grant awards to seven figures.
When choosing where to spend his time and money, Paul considers organizations who are contributing to the greater good.
“I’m convinced that’s what the Foundation is doing—making communities and the world a better place through triathlon,” he said.
The USA Triathlon Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the charitable arm of USA Triathlon. With its mission to transform lives through sport by providing opportunities to swim, bike and run, the Foundation serves to generate a greater impact on the multisport community through charitable giveback and grants that advance the Foundation’s three pillars: (1) Encourage youth participation; (2) Inspire adaptive athletes; and (3) Ignite Olympic/Paralympic dreams. Since the Foundation was established in 2014, it has provided millions of dollars in grants to organizations and individuals in pursuit of its mission and pillars to create a healthier United States through triathlon.