Unprecedented Generosity of Major Donors Creates Lasting Impact on Multisport
by USA Triathlon Foundation
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The inspiring vision and unprecedented generosity of 12 major donors will help the USA Triathlon Foundation make a wide-ranging and long-lasting impact on multisport communities across the United States.
These 12 individuals, families and organizations have taken our philanthropic efforts to another level,” said Dr. Gabe Cagwin, President and Chief Advancement Officer of the USA Triathlon Foundation. “Their belief in both the Foundation’s mission and the power of multisport will have a profound impact on our community for years to come.”
- Wendy and Stephen Ban
- Dottie and John Cassimatis
- Dr. Jody Dushay and Paul Gompers
- Kevin Haas
- Liz and Rocky Harris
- Audra and Michael Mallow
This fund assists USA Triathlon’s greatest needs and provides the necessary resources to continue taking the organization and the sport to new heights.
For John Cassimatis, supporting the CEO Excellence Fund is a way to support the sport that’s given him so much.
“One of the priorities of the CEO Excellence Fund that I am most passionate about is bringing more diversity to triathlon and provide opportunities for underrepresented and adaptive youth to experience the fulfillment and sense of achievement that the sport of triathlon brings,” said Cassimatis, who is the past Board President of the USA Triathlon Foundation.
Audra and Michael Mallow support the CEO Excellence Fund because they believe in triathlon as a means to fitness, inclusion and pushing boundaries.
“We believe that these should be available to children, teens, and adults from all backgrounds, whether physically challenged, amateur athletes or Olympic hopefuls,” said Audra Mallow, who is a member of the USA Triathlon Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
As triathlon gains more traction over time, the Mallows look forward to watching triathlon expand and athletes excel.
“We are inspired by the efforts of USAT and by the achievements of its athletes, and we are proud to count ourselves among them as amateurs who compete in races from sprint to IRONMAN distances,” Audra said.
Supported by: Celeste Callahan
Celeste Callahan’s support provides enhanced support and resources for females, especially great grand masters athletes both throughout the multisport community and at select USA Triathlon National Championship events.
As multisport pioneer, she is passionate about providing triathlon opportunities for other women, especially those over 40. “As I age and see other people still keeping up, and women coming into the sport who haven’t done it before, I’m impressed by that,” Callahan said. “We still keep trying, and we don’t give up.”
Supported by: Lynn and Dr. Bill Warren
Project Podium is an elite development program for men, with the goal of medaling in individual triathlon at the Olympics.
Besides bringing home a men’s Olympic medal in triathlon, Bill Warren is hopeful Project Podium will encourage youth athletes and grow the sport at the collegiate level. “If you get more schools doing tri, you’ll get more high school kids who will try to do it to get scholarships,” he said.
Supported by: Marilyn and Dave Alexander
With this gift, USA Triathlon was able to provide funding to the last schools needed to make women’s triathlon a full-fledged NCAA championship sport. This provides the opportunity for women to be official NCAA athletes and experience competitive draft-legal racing.
In February 2022, USA Triathlon hit its goal of adding 40 schools by 2024 and women’s triathlon continues to take steps toward becoming a NCAA championship sport.
Dave Alexander has completed more than 500 multisport events and is a major supporter of the women’s triathlon program at Arizona State University. Expanding the sport at the highest level for women is “the way it should be,” he said.
Supported by: The Leff Family Foundation & Dottie and John Cassimatis
Support from the Leff Family Foundation & Dottie and John Cassimatis will help youth in New Jersey and Philadelphia experience the joy of triathlon. The first-of-its-kind program, part of USA Triathlon’s overarching USA Kids Tri initiative, will introduce the sport to elementary and middle schools in target markets through coaches and structured training. It will then culminate in participants racing in a local triathlon.
Todd Leff, who oversees the Leff Family Foundation’s charitable efforts, hopes the program will eventually pave the way to higher education for some of its female participants.
“With triathlon on the doorstep to becoming a NCAA championship sport, we hope youth programming will open up the way for some women athletes to start in our program and ultimately maybe get a scholarship to college,” Todd said.
- Anonymous Donor
- Justin Kaplan
Unlike Paralympic and Olympic athletes in many other countries, those in the United States don’t receive government funding. Instead, they rely on donors, sponsors and, in some cases, part-time or full-time work. Paralympic triathletes have additional costs for custom bikes and sports prosthetics, which wear out just like shoes and aren’t usually covered by insurance.
The USA Triathlon Foundation helps bridge the gap for aspiring Olympic and Paralympic triathletes by providing funding for gear, coaching, racing-related travel and more.
“I know how much they train and how hard it is to support yourself between part-time jobs, training and competing at an elite level,” said Justin Kaplan, who grew up swimming and eventually competed at the collegiate level. “It’s really inspiring to me.”
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.