Allyson Felix, one of the world’s most decorated Olympians, is stepping up to help fellow moms reach their athletic dreams. Allyson announced a partnership between the Women’s Sports Foundation and her primary sponsor Athleta to launch a grant to help cover child care costs for professional athletes competing during 2021. In total, the partnership will give 20 Olympic athletes $10,000 each to help cover child care costs, totaling $200,000.
According to Fast Company, Allyson said that it is important to her to advocate for other women in sports. She wanted to establish this grant program so others could continue their drive to compete at the highest level of sports without worrying about how, exactly, they are going to make sure their babies are taken care of. “These grants are about showing the industry that all mom athletes need this same comprehensive support to be able to participate in their athletic endeavors,” Felix said to Fast Company.
The Women’s Sports Foundation will choose and allocate athletes from all sports to receive the grant. So far, Paralympic volleyball player Lora Webster, Olympic saber fencer Mariel Zagunis, and Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry have been chosen to receive the grant, and it’s already making a big difference.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that this grant is life-changing,” Lora said. “It’s not just the money: It’s that big companies are now beginning to understand what the struggle really is for mom athletes.”
The application to receive the grant is open now and will close on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, and US athletes with at least one child under the age of 18 or set to welcome a new baby within 2021 can apply. All grant winners will be announced by October 2021. The money can be used for all child care-related expenses, including “caregiver costs, travel and added costs of bringing children along to competitions, meals and supplies, equipment and medical expenses.”
To qualify for the grant applications should be able to “demonstrate an apparent and immediate financial need that, once fulfilled, will have a significant impact on their ability to continue training and competing while raising their children.”
So far, nine athletes have been selected as winners of the grant, and Lora is especially thankful. “I’m floored that she has made this a priority,” she said of Allyson Felix starting this grant. “It sends the message to all female athletes that we don’t have to choose between motherhood and our sport. We can do both.”
Those wishing to apply can visit the Women’s Sports Foundation website for more information.