Generosity fuels local athletes, organizations

Thursday, October 13, 2016

LAKE PLACID — The Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund (UISF) awarded $36,350 in grants in 2016 to support young athletes and community organizations across the Tri-Lakes region.

The fund was established at Adirondack Foundation in 2004 by the Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation and World Triathlon Corporation (formerly North American Sports). It supports local athletes who aspire to compete on the international stage as well as community organizations that promote participation in life-long summer and winter sports. Grants are recommended annually by a committee of local residents and representatives from the sponsoring organizations.

Sixteen athletes and 11 organizations received grants at a ceremony on Oct. 2 at Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid.

“I feel strongly that no other community across the country supports its young athletes the way the Tri-Lakes region does,” said Jeff Edwards, IRONMAN’s vice president of North American Operations and member of the UISF committee. “The Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund is such a unique asset—it’s a perpetual source of support for athletes with Olympic aspirations, and it also continues to strengthen the organizations that promote healthy activity for both young and old.”

“Henry Uihlein’s legacy is one of supporting athletes and athletic organizations from the greater Lake Placid area,” said John D. Leekley, Jr., chairman of the Uihlein Foundation. “We’re proud to continue that legacy to this day, as his generosity continues supporting current and future Olympians.”

The fund has always celebrated athletes who give back to their community. At this year’s ceremony, UISF committee member Mara Smith announced that going forward the fund will provide additional financial support to athletes who go above and beyond to volunteer in their community.

“As the fund continues to grow, the committee wants to reaffirm how important it is for young athletes to give back,” Smith said. “We want to make sure that the connection between philanthropy and volunteerism is clear. Starting next year, we’re asking athletes to give back in a way that encourages others to participate in their sport or helps an organization achieve their mission. We’re asking that grant recipients choose a local youth sports organization to volunteer with. If they can show a meaningful contribution, we’ll provide additional funding.”

Smith noted that athletes and fund recipients like Annelies Cook, Haley Johnson, Jamie Greubel, Billy Demong, and Chris Mazdzer have donated their time and resources to give back to local sports organizations and the community at large. Mazdzer said young athletes don’t always take the time to think about volunteering.

“We focus on ourselves so much—trying to reach the level of achievement we set our sights on,” he said. “For small communities like ours, the reason we continue to succeed at the highest level of sport, despite having a relatively small population, is because we all receive incredible support from the community. It’s only right that we complete the circle and give back.”

In addition to Mazdzer, these athletes received grants this year:

  • Stuart Baird
  • Lauchlan Cheney-Seymour
  • Fletcher Codd
  • Sean Hollander
  • Everett Sapp
  • Duncan Segger
  • Karl Schulz
  • Henry McGrew
  • Nina Lussi
  • Beckett Ledger
  • Scott Schulz
  • Gabriella Armstrong
  • Cecily Decker
  • Esther Munoz
  • Sydney-Yu Terpening

Community organizations receiving UISF support this year include:

  • USA Luge, for program expansion and outreach to local kids
  • Tupper Lake Rod & Gun Club, for the Tupper Lake NASP Archery Program
  • Saranac Lake Nordic Ski Club, for equipment, wax, race fees, and training expenses
  • Friends of Mt. Pisgah, to cover program fees for local children
  • Town of Tupper Lake, to support the after school cross-country ski program
  • Lake Placid Outing Club, to increase youth program participation
  • Lake Placid Ski Club, to support the youth biathlon program
  • New York Ski Educational Foundation, to support the Dare to Dream ski jumping program
  • Dewey Mountain friends, to purchase accessible ski gear for youth
  • Lake Placid Central School, to support the cross-country running teams
  • Wilmington Youth Ski Program, for ski passes and equipment rentals for local kids in need

To help local athletes pursue their dreams, or to support community organizations that promote participation in life-long sports, consider a donation to the Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund: visit to learn more.

For more information, call Adirondack Foundation at (518) 523-9904.