Early September, 2020, GymACT started a fundraising campaign unlike any other before. The concept is simple: raise money and give it all to gymnastics clubs in need. Period.
Well, easier said then done, apparently. To our knowledge, there has never been a college gymnastics program (let alone a national organization) donate 100% of raised funds to one (let alone dozens) club.
This “revolutionary” idea is the the brainchild of coach Breeze Olsson (NorCal United), who brought it up at the monthly membership meeting. The GymACT board of directors whole-heartedly embraced the altruistic plan. they got working on it and the #SaveGymnastics campaign was launched before anyone could even say the word “hashtag”.
”Just so happens that my birthday lands on National Gymnastics Day this year. I wanted to do something special for the sport that has provided me so much my whole entire life. ‘Let‘s give back to the gyms responsible for our very fact that we are here today.‘ We wouldn’t exist without their support and these days [of Covid-19] they are struggling to keep their doors open.”
We‘be been getting bombarded with negative press lately. Gymnastics clubs all over the country are being forced to shut down by state or county mandates and many going bankrupt. Meanwhile, men and women gymnastics programs are being dropped from NCAA universities and their athletic departments — Iowa AND William & Mary are on the chopping block this year. There is no time to lose.
GymACT took on the challenge and launched its fundraising effort with motivation and enthusiasm. We gathered the list of clubs affiliated with each program. Of COURSE we want to help ALL gyms in the country, but the obvious logistical hurdles would prevent us from making a meaningful financial impact If we spread ourselves thin. So we devised a simple criteria that limits the “affiliated clubs“ list to those actively participating with GymACT programs this year — I.e.: those who produced student-athletes in our collegiate rosters or who serve as training centers for the teams.
It’s still no small task. The number of beneficiaries has reached over 80 clubs, but that didn‘t fase our small group of ridiculously determined individuals. We’re moving forward. The site is up and our bar are set high. We have an ambitious goal and we know our community will rise to the challenge.
We have an opportunity to REALLY make a difference here. We’re in the unique position that we CAN charge into previously uncharted fundraising territories. GymACT has the malleability to quickly adapt to the changing times. We are not restricted by the rules and regulations of other national organizations, so we can swiftly mobilize our efforts in ways that generate positive impact at different levels of the gymnastics community. Clubs are the back bone of our sport. We rely on them for our most valuable resource: strong, healthy competitive gymnasts. They provide us with training facilities, resources, funding, competition space, hospitality to visiting Teams and recruits, and on and on. Now they need OUR help. It’s time we roll up our sleeves and do ALL we can to save the sport. Grass riots, from the ground up. We gotta make sure their doors stay open for business.