History

Founded in 2014 by a volunteer board of trustees, the USA Triathlon Foundation was started to transform lives through triathlon.

In 2014, The USA Triathlon Foundation was formally approved as a 501(c)(3) organization. The objective was to expand participation in - and access to - the sports of triathlon, particularly for youth and para-athletes, and to provide support to young Olympic hopefuls who may need a little help to get to the next level.

The USA Triathlon Foundation began with a committed and talented Board of Trustees who believed in the power of triathlon to transform lives. The Board represented not only a strong group of business and non-profit professionals, but also a talented array of age group triathletes, and two-time Paralympian and former U.S. Army Officer, Melissa Stockwell. The Trustees established the mission of transforming lives by opening pathways to triathlon for all.

Since its inception, several accomplished triathletes have joined the Board of Trustees, including former U.S. Senator Scott Brown, Harvard Business School Professor and former elite athlete Paul Gompers, Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) founder and USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Inductee Bob Babbitt and health care marketing executive, David Silver.

In its early days, the USA Triathlon Foundation began working with U.S. National team member, and now, Olympic Gold Medalist, Gwen Jorgensen, to establish the Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship to assist junior draft-legal triathletes and paratriathletes in their pursuit of excellence in the sport. In 2014, the first scholarships were awarded to eleven grateful recipients.

The first general Foundation grant opportunities were announced in January 2015, and the first grant awards were given on April 16, 2015 to 14 organizations distributed throughout the U.S. supporting youth, paratriathletes and Olympic hopefuls.   The foundation also partnered with professional triathlete Jesse Thomas to provide additional grant funding opportunities.

In 2014, USA Triathlon announced the establishment of a multiyear NCAA Women's Triathlon Emerging Sports Grant to accelerate the establishment of the women's triathlon at the collegiate level. Over $2.6 million has been budgeted in funding, and the Foundation continues to participate in the grant selection and approval process. The Foundation has distributed awards to Division I, II and III schools to support their pursuit of launching NCAA women's varsity triathlon programs.

In 2018, the Foundation hired the first employee in Executive Director, Dave Deschenes. Dave brought years of experience in the multisport nonprofit arena. Through his leadership, the Foundation established several fundraising programs, new initiatives, Relief funds, and exciting partnerships. 

In 2019, the foundation received over 150 applications from organizations or individuals asking for more than a half a million dollars in support of their programs. Making 2019 the biggest grant year ever. Over the years, the Foundation has funded over $3.2 million in grants to over 200 individuals or organizations.