COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, April 20. THE USA Swimming Foundation has received the largest charitable contribution in its history with a $5 million gift from Carolyn Dirks on behalf of the Joseph B. Gould Foundation. The endowment will be used to benefit The USA Swimming Foundation's Make A Splash initiative as well as the Dirks Family Coaches Incentive Program.
The USA Swimming Foundation will hold an official rededication of the USA Swimming headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Saturday, April 25. The USA Swimming building, located on the main complex of the United States Olympic Committee will be rededicated as the Carolyn Dirks Building, Home of USA Swimming.
"Carolyn has been a true and valuable friend to The USA Swimming Foundation since its inception in 2004 and has been a strong supporter of USA Swimming since 2001," said USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the USA Swimming Foundation. "This tremendous gift will allow us to reach thousands of children with our water safety efforts and the Dirks Family Coaches Incentive Program will continue to provide excellent incentive for our coaches to develop top talent at the highest level of our sport."
Make A Splash is the national child-focused water safety initiative created by the USA Swimming Foundation that aligns the nation's top learn-to-swim resources in an effort to save lives. Make A Splash educates parents through a national awareness campaign and saves lives by joining forces with grassroots learn-to-swim programs. The initiative aims to reduce youth drownings, especially among minorities, and create educational opportunities for children of all economic and ethnic backgrounds to learn to swim by the 3rd grade.
The Make A Splash initiative has grown to include programming in 25 states. In the last two years, over 35,000 kids have learned to swim through local partners, and nearly 6,800 have been Make a Splash scholarship recipients.
The Dirks Family Coaches Incentive Program, formerly known as the National Team Coaches Incentive and Reward Program, is intended to help ensure continued success in international competition by identifying and supporting those coaches who are preparing USA Swimming athletes for medal-winning performances as well as those who are providing a foundation for success in the critical development years of our international medalists.
Carolyn Dirks will be in Colorado Springs on Saturday, April 25, for the official rededication of the Carolyn Dirks Building, Home of USA Swimming. Dirks will be joined by Wielgus, USA Swimming President Jim Wood, USA Swimming Foundation Chief Development Officer Chris LaBianco, as well as swimmers that are attending the 2009 USA Swimming Diversity Select Camp. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte, Matt Grevers, Elizabeth Beisel, Mel Stewart, and Misty Hyman will also be present for the dedication.
Special thanks to USA Swimming for contributing this report.