The IRONMAN Foundation to provide $126,500 in charitable giveback to the greater Chattanooga region in 2017
TAMPA, Fla. – The IRONMAN Foundation® will distribute more than $45,000 in charitable giveback to non-profit initiatives and groups in the Chattanooga region in conjunction with the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, including a new Chattanooga youth swim initiative in partnership with the Freeman Family Foundation and Chattanooga Youth & Family Development. The IRONMAN Foundation’s overall giveback in Chattanooga in 2017 will be $126,500, bringing the total awarded to-date to $351,500.
To commemorate the youth swim initiative, a special awards ceremony is planned for the participants today, Wednesday, September 6 at Warner Park Pool at 5 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to meet and swim with IRONMAN athletes, as well as receive medals for their participation in the program and special acknowledgment from Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Darrell S. Freeman, Sr., Chairman of the Freeman Family Foundation.
Freeman, a six-time IRONMAN finisher, knows firsthand the importance of swim initiatives like this. “My wife Gloria and I believe that this program is a great way for young people to learn how to swim,” said Freeman, a Chattanooga native and IRONMAN Foundation athlete. “I grew up swimming at Carver Center and Warner Park. Both places served as safe havens for me during my developmental years. To be able to partner with The IRONMAN Foundation to teach children how to swim brings my life full circle and shows that ‘Anything is Possible.’”
The IRONMAN Foundation will also be presenting Community Grant awards to the Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue for a new Zodiac rescue watercraft, the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club to support their conservation and preservation programs and Walker County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) to support their local disaster recovery programs.
“We are truly honored to partner with these organizations and provide funding for their initiatives,” said Dave Deschenes, Executive Director for The IRONMAN Foundation. “Together we’re leaving a lasting impact and our IRONMAN legacy here in Chattanooga.”
In addition, Women For Tri, an initiative of The IRONMAN Foundation launched by IRONMAN and Life Time Fitness to bring more women into the sport of triathlon, will present a special grant to Chattanooga Girls For Tri, a program of the Chattanooga Triathlon Club. The award will provide scholarships to young female triathletes to cover their entry fees, equipment and training.
“This year’s IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship includes, for the first time, nearly 300 additional age-group women racing at the invitation of Women For Tri,” said Kyrsten Sinema U.S. Representative, Arizona – 9th Congressional District and president of the Women For Tri Committee of Advisors. “Their participation supports Women For Tri’s grant programs, and we’re excited to make a special club grant to Chattanooga Girls for Tri in their honor.”
Continuing the “We’ve Got Your Back(pack)” program launched in April of this year, volunteers at the IRONMAN Foundation booth inside of IRONMAN Village will be preparing backpacks for local children in need. Backpacks provided by Travelway Group International will include school supplies and sunscreen provided by Walmart, water bottles from Gatorade, healthy snacks from Clif Bar and inspirational notes written by IRONMAN athletes. The backpacks will be presented to Chattanooga Youth & Family Development to support their participating youth.
The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund provides community and volunteerism grant opportunities to non-profit organizations where IRONMAN events are held. In 2017, The IRONMAN Foundation will distribute more than $1.5 million in grant funding to support the needs of IRONMAN race communities across North America.
About The IRONMAN Foundation
The IRONMAN Foundation® creates positive, tangible change in IRONMAN race communities by engaging athletes and volunteers to participate in programs that demonstrate service through sport and commitment to community. Since 2003, over $50,000,000 has been provided through IRONMAN Foundation programs to more than 6,300 local, regional, national and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN athletes are powerfully linked to the community and together we leave the IRONMAN legacy behind in our race communities long after event day. For more information on IRONMAN Foundation programs, including Team IMF, Community Fund, Your Journey Your Cause, and Women For Tri, visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.
About Women For Tri
Women For Tri®, a program of The IRONMAN Foundation launched by IRONMAN and Life Time Fitness in 2015, works to increase female participation at all levels of triathlon. The program seeks to identify and diminish primary barriers to entry and mobilize triathlon advocates to encourage and engage female athletes across all race distances and representing all athletic abilities. Since inception, over $157,000 in grants have been awarded to female collegiate athletes and triathlon clubs supporting female participation initiatives. Women For Tri embodies the heart and soul of what makes the sport so rewarding: testing your ability, overcoming challenges, and realizing the full depth of your potential in the most widely recognized test of endurance – triathlon. Learn more at www.womenfortri.com and join the Women For Tri online community of 30,000+ female triathletes at www.facebook.com/groups/WomenForTri.
About the Freeman Family Foundation
The Freeman Foundation was established by Tennessee natives Gloria and Darrell S. Freeman, Sr. to help those that are less fortunate among us. We help provide educational opportunities to young people both in and outside of the classroom. Founder and executive chairman of information technology and solutions firm Zycron Inc, Mr. Freeman is a past chairman of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Hall of Fame, serves or has served on the board of Nashville Technology Council, the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Metro/Nashville Broadband Task Force, Nashville Community Foundation, the Federal Reserve Advisory Board, the African American Museum of Music Art and Culture and the Middle Tennessee State University Board of Trustees, among other roles.
About Chattanooga Youth and Family Development
The Department of Youth and Family Development’s top priority is providing a better quality of life for the citizens of Chattanooga, through education, recreation, social services, leadership and career development. Chattanooga YFD offers a large variety of programs, activities, classes, and opportunities for youth, adults and seniors at numerous locations all across Chattanooga. The mission of YFD is to provide educational, recreational, career development, leadership, and social service opportunities to create smarter students and stronger families. For more information visit: www.chattanooga.gov/YouthandFamily or www.facebook.com/chattanoogayouthandfamily.
About the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
In 2006 the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship was held in Clearwater, Florida becoming another test for the world’s elite triathletes. Since that auspicious beginning, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship has grown in stature and popularity moving first to Henderson, Nevada in 2011, where athletes encountered a more challenging terrain and then to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec—its first stop on the new “global rotation” for the championship. The event reached European soil for the first time ever in 2015, with Zell am See, Austria, hosting an epic and memorable event. In 2016, the race moved from the mountains to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. This year, the event will return to the United States, taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee and will become a two-day race for the first time. More than 185,000 athletes participated in a season of qualifying races for the championship, a series which consists of over 100 events in locations such as Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland. Approximately 4,500 athletes from around the world are registered to compete in this prestigious race. Participants in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship range in age from 18 to 85-plus, and represented over 90 countries, territories and regions. In 2018, the event reaches the African continent for the first time and will be hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa. The race will then move to Nice, France for 2019.
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon Majors Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN ® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 200 events across 50 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Holdings
Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.