Olympic champions providing a level playing field…and swimming pool

So much of what is challenging for young athletes is having access to basic and then higher-level resources – whether equipment, field-space or money. That is often the case when we are not in the midst of a major economic slowdown, one that is leading to a multitude of school and club sports being cut or the instituting of pay-for-play programs.

Thankfully there have always been great individuals, organizations and companies that have stepped up to fill some of this resource gap. We learned of a new program that brings these three categories of supporters to give young people the chance to fulfill their potential.

Level Field Fund was founded by Olympic gold medalist Ross Powers. Ross’ belief was that one’s opportunity to achieve excellence in sports should not be limited by their economic situation. Ross’ foundation has provided critical funding to dozens of deserving athletes from across the U.S. competing in sports ranging from snowboarding to skateboarding, skiing to kayaking, and skeleton to taekwando. And now, swimming.

A strong supporter of the Level Field Fund is the Michael Phelps Foundation, who last week announced a $100,000 donation to establish Level Field Fund – Swimming. Michael said, “One of my goals has always been to help grow the sport of swimming and I want to do what we can to help make sure we don’t lose talented swimmers due to a lack of money.”

To round out the three-pronged attack on a lack of resources, Level Field has major support from OrthoLite. OrthoLite is a founding partner of the Level Field Fund. is the world’s leading supplier of open cell foam insoles found in more than 100 million shoes each year including, Asics, New Balance, Merrell, Nike, Vans, Puma and Timberland. For every pair of OrthoLite insoles sold, they donate $1 to the Level Field Fund.

We are excited by this program. The name says it all. A level playing field is what we all deserve when it comes to sports, work, and life in general. Our own effort and talents will take us from there.

To read the full press release please click here. Also, please note that grant applications are available for download at www.levelfieldfund.org; requests submitted through September 15, 2010 will be evaluated for funding this year.