Olympians Group Unveils Grants Program to Help Athletes Give Back
The World Olympians Association is launching a grant program to assist Olympians who are working to make the world a better place.
Through the World Olympians Association‘s (WOA) Service to Society program, national Olympians associations (NOAs) can apply for grants to boost Olympian-led projects that give back to their communities. The grants are up to $5,000 each, and five will be awarded—one for each continent represented in the Olympic rings.
“Through our Service to Society grant programme, we hope to give Olympians the best possible platform from which to deliver vital projects that foster social development, promote unity, and empower Olympians to help make the world a better place,” said WOA President Joël Bouzou in a statement.
The program, which aims to support Olympians’ initiatives through their NOAs, aligns with the key goal of the Olympic Movement: to build a better and more peaceful world in the spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play.
“Being an Olympian is not only a lifelong honor, but it is also a responsibility,” said WOA CEO Mike Miller. “The responsibility does not begin and end in competition but is carried with Olympians throughout their lives, acting as a catalyst for community involvement, promoting leadership, and inspiring them to spread the spirit and practice of Olympism.”
Examples of existing projects led by Olympians are World Fit, which fights obesity by encouraging people to walk, and Target Ebola, which sent supplies to Sierra Leone and Liberia during the Ebola outbreak. The latter project was run in conjunction with Sierra Leone’s NOA, the National Olympic Committee, and government.
“The WOA is passionate about providing ongoing support to Olympians at all stages of their lives. The Service to Society grants program is a way for us to recognize some of the many incredible projects and initiatives that Olympians are involved in around the world,” Miller said. “We are hoping that by providing some financial assistance, we can help Olympians further grow and develop their ideas to help even more people in even more communities.”
Olympians are uniquely positioned to make a difference in society, Miller pointed out. “This starts through the practice of sport free from discrimination and continues with the education of youth and the ongoing promotion of the Olympic values,” he said.
WOA oversees 148 NOAs around the world. NOAs help support Olympians in their post-athletic lives through education, career advice, leadership training, and athlete welfare—and they help Olympians stay involved in sport and society. “A significant part of their work is to promote the idea of giving back and to encourage Olympians to continue to spread the Olympic values to enhance unity, social development, and cohesion at a community level,” Miller said.