LAKE PLACID — The Adirondack Foundation’s Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund has awarded more than $25,000 in grants to community organizations working to promote equity and access to local sports and recreation.
In addition to the eight organizations that received UISF grants this year, four grants totaling $4,750 were awarded to aspiring athletes from the Olympic region.
“This fund has always sought to encourage and promote lifelong sport and a healthy lifestyle for local children,” UISF grants committee member Mara Smith said in a statement. “Our recipients this year speak to the heart of the reasons why the UISF was formed. We live in a place where there are many opportunities for outdoor recreation, but sometimes we take for granted the barriers that many children and families face – barriers such as the cost of the equipment and the basic knowledge that is required to safely participate in certain activities. This committee continues to be encouraged and excited by all of the diverse individuals and organizations working to create opportunities for increased access and participation in places and sports that are such important aspects of our communities.”
Organizations and programs that received grants this year include:
¯ The Adirondack Health Foundation to provide swimming lessons and drowning prevention scholarships to income-eligible students.
¯ The Adirondack Sports Council’s Mac Pac program, an immersion program for Lake Placid students in grades K-8 competing in the World University Games.
¯ The Lake Placid Community Ski Program to provide after-school cross-country skiing lessons for elementary school students.
¯ Lake Placid Outing Club’s Youth Backpacking Program to introduce local children to backpacking in the Adirondacks.
¯ The New York Ski Educational Foundation to purchase equipment for their Nordic Junior Program.
¯ Paul Smith’s College to improve recreational and environmental education opportunities for children and youth from kindergarten through high school.
¯ The Saranac Lake Civic Center to offer free public ice skating to the community.
¯ City of Franklin buys mandatory football goals for Kate Mountain Park.
The UISF also annually awards funds to young athletes with national and international success. Olympians such as Tim Burke, Chris Mazdzer, Annelies Cook and Billy Demong have received scholarships over the years.
“Athletes in sports like biathlon, alpine and Nordic skiing, and speed skating often don’t get the same level of financial support as more traditional sports like football, soccer, and hockey.” said Smith. “For young athletes from our region, the economic challenges to reach the next level are often just as difficult as the physical ones.”
Athletes receiving support this year include:
¯ Cole VanEtten, Alpine Skiing
¯ Bella Wissler, Nordic skiing and biathlon
¯ Andrew Scanio, cross-country skiing
¯ Kaylen Reiley, Freeski Slopestyle & Big Air
The UISF was established by the Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation, Ironman North America – now known as World Triathlon Corporation – and the Adirondack Foundation, which administers the fund. Since its inception in 2006, the fund has awarded nearly 300 grants totaling over $536,000.