“We strive to bridge gaps in funding for uniquely talented athletes, following the belief that opportunities to pursue excellence in sport should not be limited by an athlete’s financial situation.”
We repeatedly see the benefits that participating in sport can have on an individual’s development on and off the field. I know firsthand sport can positively impact and shape an individual’s life, but the financial burden is often overlooked. Growing up in a single-parent household with limited means, I know the financial obstacle all too well. In order for me to follow my passion and continue to advance in the sport of snowboarding, I had to rely on generous financial support from individuals in my community. Athletes can have all the talent, drive and commitment in the world, but if they do not have the financial resources to apply these qualities, the fast-paced world of competitive sport will pass them by.
If not for the support from my community, I would have never had the opportunity to compete at the elite level. Knowing other athletes experience similar financial hardships inspired me to create the Ross Powers Foundation in 2001 so that I could give back to the next generation of athletes. Since its creation, the Ross Powers Foundation has provided financial support to promising world-class athletes to help advance their athletic pursuits, following the belief that one’s opportunity to achieve excellence should not be limited by their economic situation. Recognizing that the gap in funding exists across multiple sports and wanting to expand our reach, I joined forces with leading athletes from a variety of sports to establish the Level Field Fund in 2010. This grant-giving program has allowed us to fund to hundreds of deserving athletes nationwide.
Thank you for believing in our mission and for your continued support.
The Ross Powers Foundation is recognized by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization and as other than a private foundation within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code Section 509(a).
An athlete’s success is undoubtedly driven by their ability to perform at the highest level but it is also heavily dependent upon financial support. Many athletes with the potential to compete at world-class levels have faced challenges in securing the funding to pay their way to competitions that are critical to their advancement in their sport. Far too often, resource gaps have proven to be an impassable barrier for promising, yet financially challenged athletes. We at Level Field Fund strive to bridge gaps in funding so talented athletes can compete on a level playing field.
The Ross Powers Foundation and Level Field Fund have positively affected athletes well beyond those in their root sport of snowboarding. Critical funding has been provided to hundreds of deserving athletes from across the United States competing in sports ranging from snowboarding to kayaking, swimming to skiing, and skeleton to taekwondo. Thanks to the support of of the Foundation, grant recipients have further advanced their athletic pursuits and achieved success that otherwise would not have been possible in national and international competitions, including representing Team USA in the Olympic Games.
We partnered with the Michael Phelps Foundation in 2010 to establish Level Field Fund-Swimming, a swimming-specific grant program for competitive swimmers with financial needs. With the help of the Michael Phelps Foundation, we are funding talent and fueling dreams for the next generation of Olympic swimmers. To apply for a Level Field Fund-Swimming grant, please follow the instructions and guidelines outlined in the APPLY section of our site.
“Swimming is a sport that requires a significant support system to provide athletes with access to the best possible resources to improve and reach their full potential. Losing talented athletes because of a lack of financial means is troubling. We support the Level Field Fund because we are big believers that every athlete should have the chance to pursue their dreams to their full potential.”
– Michael Phelps
In 2019 we teamed up with Kathy Murray and Joe Chrostowski of the Big Rob Fund to create the Level Field Fund-Big Rob Fund, a grant-giving program specific to Southern Vermont Series snowboarders. Our collaboration has the resources to continue to provide needed funding in this important area, and the ability to do it on a bigger scale. Level Field Fund‐Big Rob Fund grants are provided to talented SVS snowboarders with financial need to cover competition-related costs. To apply for a Level Field Fund-Big Rob Fund grant, please visit the APPLY section of our site and follow our standard application process.
Some notable past recipients:
Nick Baumgartner (snowboarding) – Member of the 2010, 2014 and 2018 U.S. Olympic Snowboard Teams
Russell Currier (biathlon)– Member of the 2014 and 2018 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Teams
Danny Davis (snowboarding)– 2014 U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team member; eight-time X Games participant
Hali Flickinger (swimming) – member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming team
Nick Goepper (freeskiing)- 2018 Olympic silver medalist in slopestyle and 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in slopestyle; three-time X Games slopestyle gold medalist and two-time X Games slopestyle silver medalist
Charles Houchin (swimming) – 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 4X200 freestyle relay
Devin Logan (freeskiing)– Two-time Olympian and 2014 Olympic silver medalist in slopestyle
Megan McJames (skiing)– Member of the 2010, 2014 and 2018 U.S. Olympic Ski Teams
Liz Stephen (cross-country skiing) – Three-time Olympian, 8-time U.S. National Champion
“The Level Field Fund is a foundation that truly supports the pursuit of excellence, and understands that pursuit can come at a large cost. Not only did the Level Field Fund help me cover expenses from making my 4th Olympic Games, they have supported me in my journey to qualify for my last and 5th Olympic Games. I have no words for how grateful I am for a foundation like this. I hope to give back this way when I am done with sport in 2022.”
— Katie Uhlaender, four-time Olympian in Skeleton (Photo Credit: Harry Morhn)
Grants may be awarded to cover competition/event-related costs.
Grant Applications can be submitted throughout the year and will be reviewed in accordance with the posted filing deadlines. We encourage applicants to submit an application as soon as they identify their need for funding. While it’s not a guarantee, occasionally, we are able to consider requests outside of the bi-annual application review periods posted.
Funding evaluation shall include assessment of an applicant’s:
• financial need
• unique athletic potential
• requested use of funds
• availability of alternative sources of funding
• NCAA amateur eligibility status
Benefits of the Level Field Fund shall be limited to uniquely talented applicants who are current residents of the United States.
Benefits under this program shall not duplicate or displace benefits available from other sources, except that benefits may be given to supplement otherwise available funding where it can be shown that such funding does not or only partly meets a demonstrated need.
Recipients shall not use grant funds in any manner other than to cover the expenses specified in the Grant Award Letter.
Applicants shall be required to submit the following financial and athletic background information:
• Copy of the applicant’s or applicant family’s most recent tax return
• Breakdown of income sources and non-discretionary expenses
• Acknowledgement of awareness of the NCAA Bylaws regulating amateur eligibility status statement from a coach or governing/sanctioning organization describing the applicant’s prior competitive experience and attesting to the applicant’s eligibility for and/or ability to compete
• Statement from a coach or governing/sanctioning organization describing the applicant’s prior competitive experience and attesting to the applicant’s eligibility for and/or ability to compete”
Submitted applications shall be considered only if complete and containing sufficient information to make evaluations consistent with Level Field Fund grant funding criteria.
Financial Hardship Standard:
• Applicants shall be required to submit, as part of their Level Field Fund application, a breakdown of their income sources and nondiscretionary expenses
• Level Field Fund benefits shall only be provided to applicants demonstrating a qualified need resulting from deficient income to meet non-discretionary expenses plus the identified funding required for competition-related travel expenses that cannot be satisfied through other sources
Grant applications shall be reviewed and prioritized for funding consistent with Level Field Fund funding criteria.
Final evaluations and approvals will be made with the additional considerations of:
• Level Field Fund’s availability of funds to be granted in a calendar year
• Specific earmarked funding requirements
If you would like to mail a donation please send it to:
Level Field Fund
7 Ocean Street, 2nd Floor
South Portland, ME 04106
Research shows that the cost for athletes to properly train to compete at an elite level is so great that it often places an unbearable burden on them and their family, or prevents them from competing altogether. Racking up debt is one of the only ways athletes even have a chance at fulfilling their dreams of becoming world-class athletes. Any athlete that has the talent and determination to train and compete at the elite level should be given the opportunity and resources to do so.
Through the generosity of our supporters, hundreds of athletes have been able to compete to their fullest potential despite their financial obstacles. Since 2002, the Ross Powers Foundation and Level Field Fund has awarded over 350 grants totaling nearly $600,000 to more than 200 athletes from 17 different sports.
Our ability to fuel dreams and provide financial assistance to deserving athletes is dependent upon the support of generous donors. Your gift will help us continue our mission to bridge the gaps in funding for uniquely talented athletes. Thank you for your generosity and support!
The Level Field Fund is a program of the Ross Powers Foundation, a recognized tax exempt nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our Federal Tax ID number is 01-0541580.
The Level Field Fund Golf Tournament is our premier fundraising event. This exciting event provides players with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only will our participants have the opportunity to walk alongside one of the greatest Olympians of all time on one of the most highly regarded golf courses, they will contribute to our efforts to expand grants to talented athletes. Rich in history and scenic beauty, Stratton Mountain offers one of New England’s finest golf experiences. Stratton’s first nine opened for play in 1964, followed by two more nine-hole layouts, with each taking full advantage of the mountain landscape. A multi-year project has restored the fairways, sculpted the greens and rebuilt bunkers to reflect the original Geoffrey Cornish blueprint.