Grants doubled to help fund projects supporting BIPOC communities
TORONTO (December 18, 2020) – On Friday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) unveiled the ten Olympian-led projects that were awarded the 2020 OLY Canada Legacy Grant. The recipients, Legacy Olympians who are retired from competition, include Patrick Chan and Kaitlyn Weaver (Figure Skating), Heather Clarke (Rowing), Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (Freestyle Skiing), Constantine Kudaba (Water Polo), Carmelina Moscato (Soccer), Tim Peterson (Swimming), Andy Ritchie (Swimming), Beckie Scott (Cross-country Skiing), Donna (Smellie) Clarke (Athletics) and Seyi Smith (Athletics and Bobsleigh).
“More than just podium performances and broken records, sport is about striving to be the best you can be. It is a truly powerful tool to create positive change, share values and build stronger communities,” said four-time Olympian, Olympic medallist and COC President, Tricia Smith. “The COC is proud to help provide financial assistance to the 2020 OLY Canada Legacy Grant recipients who have taken those principles and values to heart to make a real difference in their communities through their projects, and make the world better.”
As part of the COC’s ongoing efforts to deepen its commitment and strengthen its support to safer and more inclusive sport environments in Canada, the number of OLY Canada Legacy Grants was doubled to 10 this year, with at least five awarded to projects focused on Black, Indigenous and People of Colour communities.
“We are so pleased to be able to extend the grant program to both assist more extraordinary Olympians impacting their communities and support projects that address the barriers to sport participation that exist, especially for BIPOC communities,” said COC Chief Executive Officer and Secretary General, David Shoemaker. “Our mission at the COC is to not only lead the achievement of Team Canada’s podium success but also to advance the principles and values of Olympism across Canada. Funding projects like these that have a tremendous impact on our nation’s communities is just one way that we can deliver on that work.”
Each recipient will receive a $5,000 grant for their respective initiatives. The legacy grant initiative is part of the OLY Canada program, an integral alumni initiative launched in 2017 under COC’s Athlete Marketing and Olympian Legacy team. The program was created to complement the global initiative launched by the World Olympians Association that gives Olympians post-nominal letters (OLY) in recognition of their years of hard work, dedication and promotion of Olympic values.
For more information on the OLY Canada Legacy Grant and the selection process, visit the OLY Canada website.
ABOUT THE OLY CANADA LEGACY GRANT RECIPIENT PROJECTS:
Patrick Chan (Figure Skating – Vancouver 2010 / Sochi 2014 / PyeongChang 2018) and Kaitlyn Weaver (Figure Skating – Sochi 2014 / PyeongChang 2018) are organizing a series of virtual panels and ‘bite-sized video dialogues” featuring BIPOC voices that encourage conversation on race and figure skating. Chan and Weaver sit on a working group established by Skate Canada along with fellow Olympians Paul Poirier and Eric Radford, members of the skating community and experts in the field of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The group’s goal is to take decisive action to acknowledge and address systemic racism and to create a safe and welcoming environment for all individuals to embrace the joy of skating.
“2020 has been a revealing and challenging year for figure skating. Together, with other members of Skate Canada and professionals in the field, we are working to make figure skating in this country a safer and more inclusive space. The task is enormous and ongoing— efforts of reconciliation are crucial and education is imperative. We are committed to the process of listening, learning and creating change that will make our sport better for all who enjoy it. Greatest thanks to the COC for helping us begin the journey of making the ice a home to all.”
Donna (Smellie) Clarke (Athletics – Los Angeles 1984) has designed a unique approach with the multi-sport program called NexGEN Project. Research has shown the children in underserved and Black communities in Canada face barriers to sport participation due to minimal access to appropriate resources and/or low income. NexGEN Project aims to break these barriers and introduce these children and youth from age four to ten to multiple sports and help young athletes realize their athletic potential. The grant will serve the community by adding to the program’s equipment assets and helping to provide a safe place for young kids to practice and play.
“The NexGEN Project began with a dream to build a program where kids from underserved communities could have the opportunity to discover their potential through sport sampling. We are incredibly grateful to the Canadian Olympic Committee and the OLY Canada Legacy Grant for providing us with a chance to grow the NexGEN project faster than we had initially anticipated!”
Beckie Scott (Cross-country Skiing – Nagano 1998 / Salt Lake City 2002 / Turin 2006), Canada’s most decorated cross-country skier, is the Founder and CEO of Spirit North, a national charitable organization with a mission to empower and inspire Indigenous youth through sport and play. The grant will go towards expanding the delivery of an outdoor land-based sport and activity program for Indigenous children and youth in two schools located on the Tsuut’ina reserve. The goal is to improve the physical and mental health of students, advance academic outcomes, increase family and community engagement in school and sport activities while promoting community health and wellness.
“A contribution to Spirit North is an investment in health, hope and happiness for Indigenous children and youth across Canada. We are very grateful for the support from this grant as it will directly impact Spirit North’s ability to empower and inspire Indigenous children and youth through sport and play.”
Seyi Smith (Athletics and Bobsleigh – London 2012 / PyeongChang 2018) is a dual-sport Olympian who has founded Racing to Zero – YYC, a sport sustainability project to be executed during the athletics season in Calgary. In line with the global movement around sustainability and specifically waste reduction, the project aims to combine sustainability best practices with expert knowledge in grassroots, local level, and volunteer-run athletics meets. The grant will go towards the purchase of a mobile water fountain and support the project’s website construction to make it easier for participants to engage with the program’s sustainability passport game.
“Thank you to the COC for the trust in me and my project. Typical to many grassroots projects, having an idea is not enough and the early financial support is critical in helping get us over those first hurdles. This grant is essential and will be put to good use. I look forward to achieving that return on the investment to the COC and especially my local community.”
Carmelina Moscato (Soccer – London 2012) is currently the Commissioner of League1 Ontario, a senior women’s soccer league. To directly support and drive the education and progression of female coaches into the grassroots and youth ecosystem, this grant will provide four women with the opportunity to obtain their community-level prerequisite courses and C License from Ontario Soccer, with a minimum of 50% of the sponsorships given to women in the BIPOC community.
“Receiving the 2020 OLY Canada Legacy Grant funding is a massive bright spot in a really tough year for all of us. There is nothing that excites me more than contributing to the growth of the game of soccer in Canada. This grant will contribute to more women entering the coaching stream and in turn connecting to players in grassroots, youth and even senior team environments eventually. Our society is craving more female leaders and our sport and platform is an excellent way to continue moving the needle.”
Con Kudaba (Water Polo – Beijing 2008) is an educator and a coach on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia at the Chinook Swim Club, located in Sechelt, B.C. Sechelt is a community of roughly over a quarter of people with Indigenous background. Many of the swimmers’ families are mid-to lower-income households who cannot afford the costs of travel for swim competitions on the Mainland and beyond. The grant will support much-needed equipment for the club and help to subsidize some of the families in need who could not otherwise cover the fees.
“This grant is a great gift to the community of the Sunshine Coast. Not only will these funds support the safe and inclusive environment that swimming instills, but will also have a lasting legacy towards all aspiring youth both today and in the years to come. The Sechelt and area community is eternally grateful to the COC for their generosity and recognition of smaller cities needing sport to bring people and families together.”
Heather Clarke (Rowing – Seoul 1988) is currently an instructor with the Strathcona Nordic Ski Club, a regional cross-country ski club, along with Head Coach Andrea Schreiner Stapff, a fellow Olympian who competed in rowing at Los Angeles 1984. The grant will enable students from Courtenay Elementary in Courtenay, B.C. and Cedar Elementary in Campbell River, B.C. who would not otherwise have the opportunity are able to participate in nordic skiing. Both schools have large populations from First Nations and Indigenous communities, as well as socio-economically disadvantaged families.
“I have had the joy of instructing in Strathcona Nordic’s school program, named for club member Rick Morson, and while there has been generous support for the project, there are still kids who fall through the cracks – particularly at two regional schools. With the Olympic Legacy Grant kids from all schools in the area will, for the first time, have sufficient funds to be part of this life-enhancing and life-affirming activity. Many thanks to the Canadian Olympic Committee for their support!”
Tim Peterson (Swimming – Sydney 2000) gives back to the swimming community post-retirement through his involvement with the Cruisers Aquatics, a community-based summer swimming club that seeks to create champions – champions of leadership, champions in the community, champions of spirit. The grant will help build Cruisers speed swimming and coaching capacity by creating a training camp for eleven to sixteen-year-olds focused on coaching and mentorship and improving technical skills.
“The OLY Canada Legacy Grant will support this multi-year training camp to grow the next generation of athletes, coaches and community leaders. I am so excited to build on the good work of Cruisers Aquatics and prepare the kids to take on coaching roles in a few years. I can still remember, as an age group swimmer, meeting Mark Tewksbury in 1994 as part of the Junior Swim Bursary program. Hearing Mark’s story of Olympic gold set me on the course to realize my own Olympic dream in 2000. I hope to have a similar impact on the Cruisers’ swimmers!”
Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (Freestyle Skiing – Sochi 2014) and her sisters, Justine and Chloe, all competed for Canada at the Olympic Winter Games. Now, the sisters share their passion for their sport with young female mogul skiers across Quebec with an exclusive ski day open to girls ages 8 to 16. The 10th edition of the 3SDL Camp is slated for 2022 and is a non-profit initiative aimed at inspiring healthy and active lifestyles while providing a unique chance to discover freestyle skiing.
“The 3SDL Camp has always been very important for us! It is a great opportunity to share our passion for sport, encourage young skiers to follow their dreams all while having fun. The OLY Canada Legacy Grant will allow us to deliver our 10th edition of the 3SDL in a memorable way! A huge thank you for the support around this fantastic project!”
Andy Ritchie (Swimming – Montreal 1976) has transitioned to coaching following his retirement from Olympic competition. To support the swimming community of Thunder Bay and its surrounding areas, which encompasses a population of over 250,000 and consists of several swim organizations, the grant will help purchase a new FINA approved starting block to replace the current 39-year-old starting blocks that put the community at a significant disadvantage.
“Thank you, Canadian Olympic Committee and the OLY Canada Legacy Grant program! The impact you have made on PROJECT VELOCITY is profound and vastly exciting to us here in Northern Ontario. All great accomplishments begin with one small step and you have just helped us take that step. Your generous support has purchased a state-of-the-art starting block and soon our swimmers will be flying off that block!”
Josh Su, Specialist, Public Relations