The Head Of The Charles Regatta in Boston and the Gold Cup in Philadelphia have awarded grants totalling $100,000 (USD) to seven rowing programs, committed to diversity and inclusivity, that serve under-resourced youth and communities throughout America.
The Grants Review Committee set up by the two organisations this year in response to the Black Lives Matter movement received and reviewed twenty-two applications from around the country. Each program presented its own unique approach to creating, growing, and sustaining boathouses that are both diverse and inclusive.
Grants were awarded to the following organisations.
BLJ Community Rowing, Philadelphia PA ($12,000): BLJ is a Black owned and operated rowing organization that provides a direct bridge and access to the immediate surrounding community located on the Schuylkill River. They are passionate about providing access to the elite sport of rowing by removing boundaries and creating opportunities.
Relentless Rowing Academy, Columbus OH ($12,000): Relentless Rowing Academy is an up-and-coming Black owned and operated non-profit that provides financial, instructional and educational support to local rowing clubs. Its mission is to collaborate through partnerships that overcome the social and cultural barriers that have historically prevented the development, recruitment, and retention of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and PARA athletes in rowing.
Watuppa Rowing Center, Fall River MA ($12,000): Watuppa provides tuition-free rowing programs to low-income students residing in the under-resourced Gateway City of Fall River. From teens to masters, military vets to para athletes, to those training for the highest level of competition, they are building an inclusive rowing center.
St. Benedicts Prep Rowing, Newark NJ ($16,000): St. Benedict’s Prep has served the greater community of Newark, welcoming students from all racial, religious, and socioeconomic groups to create real diversity. St. Benedict’s Prep prepares boys to fulfill their potential as emotionally mature, morally responsible and well-educated citizens.
Chicago Training Center, Chicago IL ($16,000): CTC strives to work beyond the physical benefits of sports participation by using competitive rowing to broaden the academic and personal horizons of Chicago youth.
Baltimore Community Rowing- Reach High Baltimore, Baltimore MD ($16,000): BCR provides rowing opportunities for middle and high school students living in Baltimore City while providing equitable access to athletes of color.
DC Strokes Rowing Program, Washington DC ($16,000): Operating in conjunction with Athletes Without Limits, DC Strokes serves as a developmental rowing program to engage youth, build strong leaders, support diverse and active communities, encourage goal-setting and success, and serve those often left out.
Since its origin in 1965, the Head Of The Charles Regatta has welcomed the best teams around the world to the banks of the Charles River in Boston each October for the world’s largest, two-day rowing regatta. It attracts around 11,000 athletes and tens of thousands of spectators each year. The regatta is overseen by a 15-member board of directors, which oversees an 11-member racing committee, and nearly 2,000 volunteers.
The Gold Cup, otherwise known as The Philadelphia Challenge Cup, began in 1920 in the heyday of Philadelphia rowing. The event pitted the best amateur male single scullers in the world against each other. The first recipient of the cup was John B. Kelly Sr., the renowned Philadelphia Olympian. The contest and the cup disappeared in the early 1960s, but re-emerged in 2011 when a group of Philadelphian rowing enthusiasts found the long-lost cup and reinstated the event and its tradition of single scull rowing prominence, along with expanding the competition to include women.