USA Gymnastics Creates Athlete Assistance Fund
posted on 02/07/2018

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 7, 2018 – USA Gymnastics has established an Athlete Assistance Fund, in cooperation with the National Gymnastics Foundation, to provide the financial means and guidance for gymnasts that have suffered sexual abuse in the sport of gymnastics to obtain counseling services. The Athlete Assistance Fund is a designated fund of the National Gymnastics Foundation, which unanimously approved its creation. An independent third party will administer the process of applying for funding support, facilitate the provision of counseling services and provide confidentiality of applicants.

“The National Gymnastics Foundation is hopeful that the newly established Athlete Assistance Fund will provide much-needed support for our incredible athletes who have had these devastating experiences,” said the NGF Board of Directors. “This will help them get through some of the most difficult days of their lives. Our athletes are some of the most impressive young people in all the world. We respect and admire them greatly. To the absolute best of our ability, the entire gymnastics community is there for them.”

“While we can never fully understand how profoundly abusers impact the lives of their survivors, we want to provide financial support to make sure our gymnasts have access to the counseling and mental health services they need,” said Kerry Perry, the new president and CEO of USA Gymnastics. “We appreciate the National Gymnastics Foundation working with us in this effort. The powerful voices of the young women who have shared their experiences with sexual abuse have left an indelible imprint on me and will impact my decisions as president and CEO every day.”

A five-person Designated Fund Committee of the National Gymnastics Foundation will oversee the fund, which will be administered by the independent third-party administrator. The Designated Fund Committee will be comprised of a member of the National Gymnastics Foundation Board; a gymnastics athlete; and two independent individuals, one of whom is an expert on counseling services for abuse survivors, and an at-large member. The committee will be chaired by Tina Ferriola, a member of the Foundation Board of Directors, a former competitive gymnast, and CEO of NYC Elite Gymnastics. Other members will be named soon. The committee will identify the parameters of the fund and the third-party administrator will provide guidance on requirements and procedures for administering it.

“Our hearts go out to all of the survivors affected by sexual abuse within USA Gymnastics,” said Ferriola, who will chair the Designated Fund Committee. “We hope this fund will provide guidance and financial assistance in securing the necessary counseling services in support of the healing process for survivors of sexual abuse, as well as a method for our community to show their support directly to the athletes that need our assistance.”

More information about the Athlete Assistance Fund will be available in the coming days, including information on how athletes and families of athletes may contact the fund using a toll-free number.

Contributions designated to the USA Gymnastics Athletes Assistance Fund can be made to the National Gymnastics Foundation, c/o USA Gymnastics, 130 E. Washington Street, Suite 700, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or by visiting the USA Gymnastics website.

About the National Gymnastics Foundation
The mission of the National Gymnastics Foundation includes support of the charitable, educational, and outreach efforts of USA Gymnastics. The National Gymnastics Foundation was created from the energy and excitement generated by the gold medal Olympic efforts of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Proceeds totaling $1.4 million from the 1984 Olympics were used to establish the Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.