BECOME A RAF ATHLETE
PARTNERS + DONORS
HOW DOES THE REED ATHLETIC FUND WORK?
Gary Reed established the Reed Athletics Fund to support developing athletes in the sport of track and field. Gary retired from competitive track and field in 2010 and is currently a sales and marketing manager at A&T Ventures in Kamloops BC.
To further the impact that financial support creates for developing athletes, Gary is partnering with like-minded individuals and businesses to support this cause through welcoming both short and long term financial commitments to the Fund. It should be noted, however, that four year commitments will be most effective in maximizing an athlete's potential to medal at a major championship.
The Reed Athletics Fund will accept applications from athletes on an on-call basis. These applications will be assessed according to the three following core criteria:
1. Athletic progress and potential
2. Financial need
3. Athletic and personal character.
The number of newly approved athletes will depend on the number of qualified applicants and the secured donations and commitments from partners for that period. A $10,000 CAD maximum support level per athlete per year has been set, which is conducive to providing an adequate supplement for an athlete's basic living, training, and travelling expenses. In the event that the $10,000 CAD maximum is not available for each active athlete, the available funds will simply be divided equally amongst all athletes.
Unlike other initiatives, the Reed Athletics Fund encourages long-term sponsorship of its athletes, rather than a one-time grant. The funds will be provided on an ongoing basis granted the individual can continue to demonstrate athletic progress and financial need. Supporting documentation to prove these criteria will be requested from the athletes on an annual basis.
WHY WAS THE REED ATHLETICS FUND DEVELOPED?
Two-time Canadian Olympian Gary Reed always knew that upon retiring from the sport of track and field, he would find a way to give back. Although many athletes choose to do so through other means, Gary established the Reed Athletics Fund to give back in the most practical way possible: through providing financial support to athletes. Unlike other sports, Track and Field athletes are faced with the daunting task of truly competing against the world. Over 200 countries compete for the coveted 3 medals, making it the showcase event at the Olympics. As a result, a full-time life commitment is the only way to achieve greatness in the sport.
Gary knows all too well the financial struggles that many young athletes face in their developing years when chasing their Olympic dream. He grew up very poor, raised by a single mom who moved from small town to small town in B.C. during his younger years in search of seasonal work. Gary endured years of going to food banks, eating poorly, sleeping on friend's floors, selling his personal belongings, and working long hours while training full-time to attend crucial track meets and training camps. Although he credits some of this struggle to his success, he believes that as Canadians, we have the responsibility to support our athletes with the financial means available to us. Instead of relying on the government to increase athlete funding, Gary believes that individual Canadians and small and big businesses alike have a responsibility and can play a significant role in becoming involved in the dream to see Canadian athletes excel.
Although Gary was lucky enough to eventually experience some financial success upon reaching the top eight in the world, he believes that financial support is most important in the developing years. Throughout his track career, he witnessed many of his talented fellow athletes living below the poverty line, having to quit the sport due to financial constraints, or not reaching their full potential because they were unable to eat properly, attend critical training camps, or travel to competitive track meets which would allow them to improve their times need to qualify for major championships.
Reed has publicly voiced his opinion many times on this issue:
"I've trained with guys who couldn't go for a coffee," he said. "It's just taking a little stress out of their lives and sometimes that's all it takes. Track and field is at a crossroads right now. We all know this. It's not a secret. We've got to somehow spark that next generation because the Priscillas ((Lopes-Schliep) and the Perditas (Felicien) and the Dylans (Armstrong) are not going to be around forever. And when they're gone, you can't have an up-and-coming generation that has had no support and no help. You have to have people to fill their shoes."
"I hope people will understand it's not okay to just turn on the TV every four years and then go 'Oh, we need to do more for these guys.' I hope that people realize at some point you have to put your money where your mouth is, we have to do something to support these guys. That's what I'm doing."
Gary established the Reed Athletics Fund to fill this void; he now needs others to jump on board with him.
HOW DOES RAF SELECT ATHLETES FOR FUNDING?
Click here to download the PDF for selection criteria.