What is the Gazelle Sports Foundation:
The Gazelle Sports Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports individuals and organizations that implement education, programs and activities involving movement and fitness. The focus of the grants will be towards groups that have barriers to integrate fitness in their lives. The Foundation will prioritize grants that include lower income individuals and families.

Two percent of Gazelle Sports’ profits are donated to the Gazelle Sports Foundation each year. The Foundation’s mission is to assist Michigan in becoming one of the nation’s healthiest states.

Every year, we open up grant applications to geographic areas in Michigan in which Gazelle Sports operates retail stores. Below are the grant recipients from 2019. We are looking forward to a wonderful year of health and growth in 2020 for these organizations.

Arbor Circle – The Total Trek Quest Program: Kent county Expansion

Arbor Circle is requesting funds to continue the growth of the Total Trek Quest (TTQ) program into underserved areas of Kent County. Through foundations funds, the program will be maintained at Burton, Congress and San Juan Diego Schools, and two new schools will be added: Sibley and Harrison Park Elementary schools. Through foundation funds, we also plan to increase the accessibility of the program to families whose native language is Spanish. TTQ is an after school running and skill building program for boys in 3rd through 5th grade. TTQ combines the rigor of training for a 5K as a method of modeling goal setting and achievement behaviors with a curriculum of activity-based lessons focused on teaching healthy decision making. The program runs for nine weeks with youth practicing twice per week for 90 minutes each session. The program culminates each season with a final 5K run. TTQ has demonstrated success in teaching participants how to make healthy choices and is demonstrating positive changes in behavior after the final season of participation.

Goals of the program include increased time in physical activity, increased goal setting behavior, and a decreased interest in early substance use. Due to the nature of the program, and the use of volunteers as coaches, funds from the Gazelle Sports Foundation will be primarily used for staff capacity for the program and for translation services. Staffing capacity is essential to ensure all TTQ coaches are properly implementing the curriculum and effectively managing their teams. Funds will also support the purchase of program supplies for new teams, transportation of the TTQ boys and families to the kickoff and final 5K events and CPR/First Aid training for coaches. Increasing translation services and translated materials is critical for the continued success of the program as most Kent County teams are located in schools with large Spanish speaking populations.

Holland Community Aquatics Center – FITKIDS H2O

To help fund a new water-based fitness and nutrition program for Holland area school-children facing the health challenges of overweight/obesity; poor nutrition; and limited economic resources.

FITH2O is a new fitness and nutrition initiative being piloted this fall 2019. It is designed for Holland’s school-aged children who by virtue of their BMI (body mass index) of 85% or higher and poor nutrition patterns, are at risk for the health problems that so often result from the combination of overweight, inappropriate diet and lack of physical exercise.

As a new initiative who all-volunteer board is building partnerships among interested/invested stakeholders in the community including the HCAH, Boys & Girls Club, School Nurse Program at HPS, and InterCare Community Health Network, we are seeking funding to launch this initiative this year, which will serve just 20 families and their children who qualify by meeting the program criteria of 85%+ BMI and eligible for Free/Reduced School Lunch . Any grant monies we are awarded will go directly to meet program costs, namely 6-month family membership (20 families) at the HCAC; and swimming and fitness classes at part of the FITKIDS H2O program, are donating their time. Many volunteers, including the entire Board/Steering Committee; van drivers, parents, and instructional assistants are also donating their time.

We hope to achieve with this program is to reduce health risks by providing ways to improve fitness and nutrition of program participants and their families – to help them make changes, establish new patterns of exercise and nutrition that will positively impact their health and fitness trajectory for the future.

Let Me Run – Kalamazoo

Let Me Run (LMR) wants to increase access to our program for boys’ whose families are unable to participate.

LMR is a holistic health program for boys that helps elementary and middle school boys break the “Boy Code” by expanding their understanding of healthy masculinity. We use the power of a running team to teach the lessons that support healthy physical, emotional and social health. Five years ago, the Kalamazoo region successfully launched the program in conjunction with area schools and has been growing ever since. The foundation is in place to intentionally broaden our reach; with this application we are inviting Gazelle Foundation to partner with us to increase access to our program for boys’ whose families do not have the financial resources to pay the program fee, nor do they have the capacity to be volunteer coaches. School personnel at four schools in Kalamazoo County requested the program last season, but could not launch without scholarships and help finding coaches. We believe there are many more schools in this same predicament. With your support, we aim to change that.

Together we can provide scholarships to boys who need them, recruit and train volunteer coaches, and increase our capacity to raise awareness across our county about the physical and mental health benefits of our program. A majority of your investment will cover the cost of providing full or partial scholarships. The remainder will pay for staff time and marketing materials to recruit and train school site coordinators and coaches.

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital – Removing Barrier to Recreation

To restore independence, hope and freedom to children, teens, and adults after rehabilitation through adaptive sports.

Over 54 million people in our country currently need rehabilitation in some form, yet Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is one of only 25 hospitals in the nation dedicated solely to the purpose of providing specialized rehabilitative services. And, Mary Free Bed is the only rehabilitation hospital in Michigan that has a sports extension and the only organization in West Michigan that offers such a wide range of wheelchair and adaptive sports (WAS) opportunities to people with limited mobility.

Rated one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation, the year-round, ongoing nature of WAS programming offers sports, clinics, and activities to children (starting at age 7), teens and adults with disabilities. The Mary Free Bed WAS Program gives these special athletes a chance to fight their way back to their “new normal” following a debilitating injury, illness, or condition.

During our FY2018-2019, the Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports program served approximately 2,800 participants who were suffering the effects of paralysis. Unfortunately, as this number increases, so does the need for specialized rehabilitation and healthy outlets such as adaptive sports. Participation in adaptive sports programs is not covered by insurances, and adaptive sports equipment is very expensive. The awarded grant funds will allow us to continue to offer recreational classes, clinics, and competitive sports opportunities at a nominal fee to our athletes and assist with the expense for equipment, venue rental, participant travel and transportation.

No Surrender Running Club, Inc – NSRC 2020 Organizational Growth

No Surrender Running Club is seeking funding to meaningfully expand programming in 2020 to serve targeted populations of youth that lack access to other forms of sport or physical recreation.

No Surrender Running Club has welcomed constant growth in youth participation since its start in 2010. In 2019, NSRC is serving 93 youth through its free-to-participate 6-month programming. Among its core values, NSRC aims to 1) Meaningfully serve all youth participants; 2) Reduce and remove barriers that prevent youth from participating in programming fully; and 3) Ensure all youth are welcomed into programming.

However, as a historically 100% volunteer-led organization with a Working Board of Directors, NSRC recognizes the need to secure resources that will best support it in achieving all aforementioned aims.

With funding requested through this grant, NSRC aims to increase administrative support as well as volunteer training resources. Specifically, NSRC will contract with two paid individuals with volunteer recruitment and nonprofit administration experience for a 6-month period in 2020. In addition, NSRC will develop training materials and learning opportunities for all volunteers. By achieving these aims, it is predicted that NSRC will have increased organizational capacity to support all youth participants in a meaningful way. Increased organization capacity specifically in this case means that NSRC will be able to continue its practice of welcoming all youth participants who wish to participate into the program, provide a meaningful experience for those participants and volunteers, as well as begin to forge partnerships with organizations or neighborhoods that would like to extend programming to targeted youth populations.

Center for Women in Transition, DBA Resilience: Advocates for ending violence – Girls on the Run of Ottawa & Allegan County

The purpose of the grant is to support Girls on the Run program expenses not covered by registration fees.

Girls on the Run is a physical activity based positive youth development program designed to develop and enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experiences. Over the course of the program girls will develop and improve competence, confidence, character, compassion and create positive connections with their peers and community. For the 2019 season of Girls on the Run, we had 877 participants. Funds from this request will be used to support program expenses not covered by registration fees.

Team GUTS, Inc – Team GUTS Programs & Classes

Provide year-round fitness, athletic and sports programs to children, teenagers, and adult with special needs. Furthermore, provide scholarships to families and individuals that need financial assistance.

Team GUTS, Inc. is requesting a grant from Gazelle Sports Foundation to support its mission of helping children, teenagers and adults with special needs.

Our programs are vital for individuals with special needs, regardless of age. Fitness options are virtually nonexistent within the special needs community, despite research that shows enormous health benefits of early intervention to improve health and functioning in pediatric disabilities. Children and adults with mobility limitations and intellectual or learning disabilities are at greatest risk for obesity. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of children ages 10-17 who have special health care needs are obese, which is 33% higher than kids without special needs.

Team GUTS hopes to keep spreading the message about the importance of physical activity and fitness for individuals with special needs and the many benefits. It’s also important, especially when introducing the idea of fitness to young people with challenges, that they can get exercise and have fun. The goal is to foster health, happiness and self-confidence. The research data is clear; “participation of children with disabilities in sports and recreational activities promotes inclusion, minimizes deconditioning, optimizes physical functioning and enhances overall well-being.” (American Academy of pediatrics) Team GUTS believes that once children experience the fun of being in a class with other similar kids, getting exercise in a safe place, that they will want to continue, especially as they feel better and their self-image improves — and they may be able to slow the functional decline that occurs with some disabling conditions. Children with disabilities tend to be more restricted in their participation than their peers: a gap that widens as children become adults.

Wedgwood Christian Services – Wellness/Recreation Services

Wedgwood’s Transforming Services provide Wellness Programs that support a child’s physical, emotional, and social well-being through recreational activities and fitness programs.

Wedgwood Christian Services is one of Michigan’s most highly regarded experts for helping hurting children and teens and is dedicated to taking on the toughest problems facing them today. Our goal is to support and help restore the physical, social, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual well-being of youth within our community. Wedgwood’s continuum of care consists of Core Services and Transforming Services, which together provide holistic treatment. As part of Wedgwood’s Transforming Services, our Wellness Program is critical to the successful outcomes of those we serve and is 100% donor funded.

Wellness activities help create a sense of wholeness for youth who have missed out on “normal” childhood activities. Many residential youth arrive at Wedgwood malnourished and underdeveloped because of the neglect they have endured in their young lives. They struggle with poor self-concepts, lack of confidence, and a fear of trying new things. Activities such as camping, hiking, swimming, sports, and fitness programs are all designed to develop a healthy lifestyle. Wedgwood’s Wellness Program has improved the ability of children and teens in our care to problem solve, develop positive relationships, take responsibility and communicate effectively. Wedgwood’s Transforming Services, which includes the Wellness Program, help lead children and teens to a healthy life full of meaning and purpose.