2021 Olympics

EUGENE, OREGON - JUNE 26: Allyson Felix celebrates with her daughter Camryn after day nine of the 20...
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Allyson Felix & Athleta Launch Grant To Help Olympic Moms With Child Care Costs

“These grants are about showing the industry that all mom-athletes need this same comprehensive support to be able to participate in their athletic endeavors.”

by Morgan Brinlee

Nine-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix is helping fellow professional athlete moms with child care. Together with Athleta and the Women’s Sports Foundation, the sprinter and mom of 2-year-old Camryn has launched The Power of She Fund: Child Care Grants. The first-of-its-kind grant program has committed $200,000 to covering the child care costs of mothers who are also professional athletes and must travel to compete in events such as the Olympics.

“As a mom and an athlete, I know first-hand the obstacles women face in sports,” Felix, who became an Athleta-sponsored athlete in 2019 after cutting ties with Nike due to the brand’s lack of maternity protections, said in a press release. “It was important to me and to Athleta that our partnership reflects that I am more than just an athlete. In fact, part of my contract includes provisions for my daughter, Camryn, to join me whenever I am competing. But not everyone has access to this type of support from a partner or sponsor.”

At least, not now. Felix said she hopes these grants will not only increase access to child care support but also spur other sponsors and companies to further break down the barriers that can hinder moms from competing fully by permanently providing these and other vital benefits to parents. “These grants are about showing the industry that all mom-athletes need this same comprehensive support to be able to participate in their athletic endeavors,” Felix said.

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By helping athlete moms cover various child care costs, Felix, Athleta, and the Women’s Sports Foundation are hoping to alleviate some of the financial burden female athletes with children face and help them focus more on training and competition. Grant recipients can use the money they receive to cover things like caregiver costs or the added travel costs associated with bringing children along to competitions.

The Power of She Fund’s inaugural cohort of grant recipients includes nine professional athletes, six of whom are headed to the Tokyo Olympic Games later this summer. According to a press release, each recipient will receive $10,000 for child care costs. Recipients will also participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Women’s Sports Foundation in partnership with the National Women’s Law Center and &Mother.

Among the first round of grant recipients is American Paralympic volleyball player Lora Webster. As a mom of three children age 10 or younger, Webster is all too familiar with how difficult juggling training time and costs with child care can be. “Balancing training with being a full-time mom is not always a pretty picture,” she said in a statement shared by Athleta. “We don’t have family nearby to help with the child care, so much of my training happens in our home with my kids acting as trainers.”

“There have been many instances where we simply can’t justify the cost of a babysitter on top of the cost of the gym and training site, so my training falls by the wayside,” Webster continued. “This money has given us such a big breath of relief in the past few weeks.”

Other child care grant recipients include track and field athletes Gwendolyn Berry, Natasha Hastings, and Aliphine Tuliamuk, sitting volleyball athlete Kaleo Kanahele Maclay, wheelchair basketball player Natalie Schneider, bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor, paracycling athlete Jamie Whitmore, and fencer Mariel Zagunis.

Professional mom athletes are encouraged to apply for the fund’s second round of child care grants, which will be awarded in October.