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. It was founded to expand participation and access to triathlon, particularly for youth and adaptive athletes. It also aimed to support young Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls needing 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:

  • Scott Brown, former U.S. Senator 
  • Paul Gompers, Harvard Business School Professor and former elite athlete 
  • Bob Babbitt, Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) founder and USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Inductee
  • David Silver, health care marketing executive

In its early days, the USA Triathlon Foundation began working with Gwen Jorgensen, U.S. National team member and now Olympic gold medalist, to establish the Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship. It assists junior draft-legal triathletes and paratriathletes in their pursuit of excellence. In 2014, the first scholarships were awarded to 11 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/Paralympic 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 its first employee, 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 $500,000 to support their programs. This made 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.