Challenged Athletes Foundation Marks 30th Year with Historic $8.1 Million Grant Distribution

Over 4,497 individuals around the world with physical disabilities receive grants for adaptive sports equipment, training, and competition expenses

San Diego, CA, April 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Continuing to open doors to unlimited possibilities, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) proudly announces the distribution of a record-breaking 4,497 athletes receiving grants totaling an unprecedented $8.1 million - the largest in the organization's history. As CAF commemorates its 30th anniversary, this milestone grant distribution reflects a commitment to supporting individuals of all ages to discover their full potential through sports. CAF is a world leader in the adaptive sports movement and has supported thousands of athletes with physical disabilities, empowering their lives through sport.

"As we celebrate our 30th Grant Distribution, we stand proud of the life-changing impact of CAF support,” said Kristine Entwistle, CAF Chief Executive Director. “By giving access to equipment, travel, and competition expenses across 105 sports, we empower individuals to achieve their dreams and strengthen the community we've built over three decades. This milestone year fuels our commitment to continue pioneering inclusivity in sports."

For 30 years, CAF has been committed to positively impacting athletes of all skill levels through the global Grant Program. This initiative provides financial support for items that are often overlooked by medical insurance, such as running prosthetics, adaptive sports equipment, and expenses associated with competition travel, training, and coaching. This year, CAF's grant distribution has reached a diverse range of athletes, spanning ages from three to 90, residing in 50 states and 32 countries. Across 105 different sports and activities, such as wheelchair basketball, surfing, adaptive fitness training, cycling, wheelchair rugby, pickleball, alpine and nordic skiing, sled hockey, and outdoor recreation, CAF continues to empower individuals to pursue their athletic dreams.

Operation Rebound Grants
A significant portion of this year's grants, totaling $649,000 was allocated through CAF’s Operation Rebound program, supporting veterans and first responders in their pursuit of healing and community through sports. Since its inception in 2005, Operation Rebound has been instrumental in providing resources and support to those seeking solace and strength in athletic endeavors.

Partnership Grants
CAF's Grant Program offers a diverse range of support opportunities, ensuring athletes have access to the resources they need to thrive. Global Partners including Össur, CAF’s exclusive and global prosthetic partner, has helped thousands of people in the limb loss and limb different community pursue a life without limitations. This year, 127 Össur prosthetic sports feet and 24 knees were granted to deserving athletes. EOS Fitness, granted 81 complimentary gym memberships to eligible athletes across the country; and Toyota, presented 11 grants at Toyota Sports Festival activations at the Los Angeles and New York Auto Shows and CAF Community Challenge. Additionally, discretionary grants are awarded throughout the year, supplementing the organization's comprehensive support system.

Paralympic Athlete Grants
The upcoming 2024 Paralympic Games mark a pinnacle of aspiration for some special CAF athletes across the globe. CAF has a long history of contributing to the athletic journeys of these elite athletes and has traditionally supported over 55% of Team USA athletes at some point in their career. The organization's Grant Program is pivotal, providing athletes with the necessary funds for coaching, training, and travel for competitions. CAF is honored to stand beside these athletes as they showcase their talents on the global stage.

2024 Grant Distribution Facts and Figures
105 sports
50 states + Washington DC and Puerto Rico
32 countries
Youngest grant recipient- Age 3
Oldest grant recipient- Age 90
24% of grant recipients under the age of 18
38% are first-time grant recipients
35% are female
65% are male

Income Stats
31% of recipients have household earnings under $20K/year
30% of recipients’ households earn income between $20K-$50K/year

Breakdown by Disability
20% Limb loss/Limb difference
13% Spina Bifida
9% Cerebral Palsy
9% Spinal Cord Injury
8% Paraplegia
4% Visual Impairment
2% Quadriplegia
2% Traumatic Brain Injury

2024 Grant Athlete Spotlights:

Age: 3
Sport: Cycling
Grant: Handcycle
Physical Disability: Bilateral Above-Knee Amputation
BIO: As CAF’s youngest grant recipient this year, Louie’s journey through sport is just beginning. Born with tibial hemimelia, he experienced the amputation of his legs at just 11 months old. Now an active three-year-old, he has already tried several sports like sled hockey, skateboarding, and swimming; however, cycling has always been a beloved family activity. Currently using an old pedal bike his parents found at an antique store, Louie will now get to experience the freedom of cycling independently as he discovers all that is possible through sport.

Age: 19
Sport: Wheelchair Basketball
Grant: Sports Expense Grant
Physical Disability: Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia
BIO: Jahkyra is an award-winning collegiate athlete who has been recognized for her work on the court, including earning the title of tournament MVP. She is thankful for how being involved in wheelchair basketball has changed her life, traveling the country, meeting amazing people, making lots of friends, and meeting others with the same disability. With newfound confidence through sport, Jahkyra has set goals to improve her defensive skills, win a national championship, and receive an invitation to try out for Team USA.

Age: 23
Sport: Power Soccer
Grant: Sports Expense Grant
Physical Disability: Muscular Dystrophy
BIO: “Being part of a team that has other athletes with the same disability has been very beneficial to me personally. Within the sporting community, we are all friends and companions before we are competitors and rivals. 90% of my friends came from power soccer, and the connections I have made have helped me succeed in other parts of my life. It has given me hope, confidence, and belief. None of this would not have been possible without power soccer.”

Age: 24
Sport: Track and Field
Grant: Össur Running Prosthetic
Physical Disability: Single Below-Knee Amputation
BIO: Sports have always been a big and positive part of Takira’s life, giving a sense of structure and providing a mental retreat. After experiencing COVID-related heart failure which led to the deterioration of muscle in her left leg, she decided to amputate. With her grant for an Össur running prosthetic, she is ready to set some new athletic goals and simply enjoy the feeling and rhythm of running again.

Age: 52
Sport: Running
Grant: Össur Running Prosthetic
Physical Disability: Single Below-Knee Amputation
BIO: Since the time Benita experienced the amputation of her leg at the age of 18, she has never stopped taking on new challenges and reaching new heights. Though she has accomplished much in life and in sport, she has not tried running since the accident; however, with the belief that nothing is impossible, she is ready to set and achieve a new goal to honor the memory of a dear friend by crossing a 5K finish line.  

Media Kit:  For a highlight reel of these incredible grant recipients, click here: 2024 Grant Recipients Video

Through the generosity of partners this past fiscal year, CAF was able to help more people than ever by providing support, products, and services to grant recipients. CAF grants are made possible by generous donors, global partners, sponsors, fundraisers and major grant funders. Global partners include Nike, Össur, Toyota, Smoothie King, 100%, Accenture, EoS Fitness, and J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.

Major endowments and grant funders, CAF Endowment in Memory of Robin Williams, CAF Endowment in Memory of Robert Spotswood, Kenneth Whalen Family Foundation, Kenneth Whalen Family Foundation, L.L. Foundation for Youth, SWITCHFOOT BRO-AM Foundation, Foundation for Global Sports Development, Yellowstone Club Community Foundation, IRONMAN Foundation, Maximus Foundation, Devils Youth Foundation, The Olympic Club Foundation, Copley Foundation, DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation, Oakland A’s Community Fund, USS Midway Foundation, Walter J. and Betty C. Zable Foundation, Harth Family Foundation, J&L Pie Company, Bridgestone, SDG&E, Wander Project, Ares Management, Designer Wellness, ROTH Capital Partners, Thompson Family Foundation, Rae and Jonathan Corr Family Foundation, Hellman Family Foundation

We appreciate our adaptive sports equipment providers Össur Americas, Box Wheelchairs, Carbonbike USA, Colours Wheelchairs, Eagle Sportschairs, GRIT Freedom Chairs, Melrose Wheelchairs, Per4Max, Power Soccer Shop, RGK Wheelchair, Top End, Unique Inventions, Vesco Metal Craft.

About Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) stands as a global leader in empowering individuals with physical disabilities to embrace vibrant, active lives. CAF firmly believes that engaging in physical activity fosters self-esteem, encourages independence, and enriches the quality of life. For three transformative decades, CAF has been at the forefront of the adaptive sports movement, catalyzing change, and redefining possibilities. Since its inception in 1994, CAF has raised over $178 million and fulfilled 48,000 funding requests from people with physical disabilities across all 50 states and more than 73 countries, impacting another 60,000 individuals annually through its outreach efforts. From providing essential equipment like handcycles to offering mentorship and encouragement, CAF's mission is clear: to provide opportunities and support to those who aspire to lead active, athletic lifestyles. To learn more, please visit

# # # #


Challenged Athletes Foundation Marks 30th Year with Historic $8.1 Million Grant Distribution

Contact Data