USA Shooting’s Athlete Endowment Fund Awards Grants to 27 Athletes in 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (November 1, 2016)

2015 Athlete Endowment Fund recipient Will Shaner was a 2016 Junior Olympic Champion.  Now in year two of supplementing training and competition costs for developing shooting sport athletes, USA Shooting’s Athlete Endowment Fund awarded $36,000 worth of grants to 27 worthy athletes earlier this summer. 

The Athlete Endowment Fund began in 2005 and 10 years later, the Fund finally reached its goal of rewarding training stipends to athletes in 2015. Nine more grants were handed out in 2016 as well as an additional $9,000 in overall funding.

The success of the Athlete Endowment Fund is already being realized with several success stories from those awardees from 2015, including 2016 Olympic champion Ginny Thrasher as well as Junior Olympic champion Will Shaner. 

Thanks to numerous donations, the Athlete Endowment Fund achieved its initial investment goal of $1.5 million in 2015 and thus began the process of handing out much-needed grants to athletes in hopes of maintaining USA Shooting’s competitive excellence well into the future. However, these grants are just a stepping stone to what was intended when the Athlete Endowment Fund first began. 

Recognizing the need for USA Shooting to build its own base of financial support Col. D. Behrens began the Athlete Endowment Fund in 2005.  What began as a small inner-circle of hunting buddies, has now blossomed into a very loyal and dedicated grouped. The Bunker Club was born at a time when USAS was in a tight financial position, but with the immediate need to replace bunker trap machines at the International Shotgun Range in Colorado Springs.  The machines cost $200,000 and the Bunker Club members came together to successfully help complete the project. 

With that success, Bunker Club members then decided to make a long-term commitment to USA Shooting athletes and the fruit of that labor is only starting to be recognized by rewarding two straight years of grant funding to athlete recipients. With one goal already achieved, the Bunker Club is steadfast in their pursuit of even greater support with $3 million being the next targeted goal they would like to see raised, thus enhancing the grants and sweetening the assistance.

The goal of the Athlete Endowment Fund is to build a strong foundation of USA Shooting athletes by assisting aspiring and talented competitive shooters and to help them develop the shooting skills needed to become high-level competitors and Olympians.  The vision includes getting more people involved, particularly within the shooting community, as they become aware of the program and the long-term benefits for America’s shooting team.”

This year’s grant awardees were selected by the USA Shooting coaching staff and Interim CEO, Dave Johnson, through an application process. Sitting on the USA Endowment committee was Captain (US Navy) Carl Kilhoffer who is also a member of the Bunker Club.  Support was prioritized for developing athletes in all three shooting disciplines who have shown strong future potential in training and competition.

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