USA Shooting Awards $50K to Developing Athletes Through Athlete Endowment Fund
The impact of the Athlete Endowment Fund cannot be understated as evidenced by the Fund's growth and athlete success since it began handing out grants three years ago. Olympic champion Ginny Thrasher was one of 18 athletes that earned an initial grant.
The Athlete Endowment Fund began in 2005 and 10 years later, the Fund awarded training stipends to athletes valuing $27,000 in 2015 and then increasing that to 27 athletes and $36,000 in 2016.
Now, three dozen athletes received grant payments between $850 and $2200 in 2017.
Thanks to numerous donations directly from the Bunker Club, the Athlete Endowment Fund achieved its initial investment goal of $1.5 million in 2015 and thus began the process of handing out much-needed grants to athletes in hopes of maintaining USA Shooting's competitive excellence well into the future. However, these grants are just a stepping stone to what was intended when the Athlete Endowment Fund first began.
Recognizing the need for USA Shooting to build its own base of financial support, The Bunker Club began the Athlete Endowment Fund in 2005. What began as a small inner-circle of hunting buddies, has now blossomed into a very loyal and dedicated group.
The Bunker Club was born at a time when USAS was in a tight financial position, but with the immediate need to replace bunker trap machines at the International Shotgun Range in Colorado Springs. The machines cost $200,000 and the Bunker Club members came together to successfully help complete the project.
With that success, Bunker Club members then decided to make a long-term commitment to USA Shooting athletes and the fruit of that labor is only starting to be recognized by rewarding three straight years of grant funding to athlete recipients. With one goal already achieved, the Bunker Club is steadfast in their pursuit of even greater support with $3 million being the next targeted goal they would like to see raised, thus enhancing the grants and sweetening the assistance. More on the Bunker Club here . . .
The goal of the Athlete Endowment Fund is to build a strong foundation of USA Shooting athletes by assisting aspiring and talented competitive shooters and to help them develop the shooting skills needed to become high-level competitors and Olympians. The vision includes getting more people involved, particularly within the shooting community, as they become aware of the program and the long-term benefits for America's shooting team.
This year's grant awardees were selected by the USA Shooting coaching staff and Interim CEO, Dave Johnson, through an application process. Sitting on the USA Endowment committee was Captain (US Navy) Carl Kilhoffer who is also a member of the Bunker Club. Support was prioritized for developing athletes in all three shooting disciplines who have shown strong future potential in training and competition.
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