This week, the National Nordic Foundation (NNF) kicks off its annual fundraiser, the Drive for 25. For those unfamiliar with the NNF, this grassroots organization provides financial support for developing athletes to enable them to attend training camps and competition trips that would otherwise be unfunded or only partially funded. This support begins at the junior level and continues even into senior World Championship level competition if an athlete is not fully supported by U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
By reducing costs for athletes and families, the NNF keeps within reach the key developmental pathways that enable athletes to work toward high level goals like racing on the World Cup, or at World Championships or Olympic Games. Decreasing the financial burden retains developing athletes with the potential for international success, thereby elevating American skiing. According to the NNF, all athletes on the National Team have at one time been supported by these grants.
As the website states: “Every year the NNF funds:
- National Training Group Program (NTG), National Elite Training Group Program (NEG) and U16 National Camp prepare our most talented athletes for international success
- US World Junior and U23 teams, helping athletes across the nation ascend to the highest levels of world Nordic events
- Athletes getting their first tastes of European competitions at the under-18 Nordic Nation’s Championships & OPA Cup competitions
“The NNF is an integral part of our Nation’s building blocks for competitive success. Furthermore, the NNF, through its annual fundraising efforts, the Drive for 25 and the NNF Auction, catalyzes the US skiing community to come together.”
As was felt by other non-profit organizations, the pandemic tightened personal and corporate budgets, decreasing the donations to the NNF in 2020. On the rebound heading into an Olympic season, the NNF is setting a big goal for the 2021 drive: to “Double the Drive for 25.”
The NNF writes:
“We’ve been challenged by several generous donors who will gift an incredible $100,000 to NNF if we surpass 1,000 individual donations of $25 or more. We know this is an ambitious goal; last year we had just under 500 donations. However, we know that with your help, we can double our drive, and can continue to fund the National Nordic Foundation’s development projects. Additionally, if we reach $100,000 by the end of the day Friday, we will unlock an additional $100,000 donation from our amazing supporters!”
Here’s where you come in: Help the NNF reach their fundraising goals and support the rising generations of skiers by making a donation today.
U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Matt Whitcomb is an active member of the NNF board of directors. He shared the following message encouraging members of the cross country ski community to participate in the campaign.
“This drive captures what I love most about our sport: It’s about motivation, and rallying together for one thing. I love the process of getting people to work together, and watching what happens when they do. We’re fortunate to have two different $100,000 challenge matches this year, but the NNF board has deliberately set the standards high. If we are half-hearted with our efforts this week, we will fail at both goals. It won’t happen if too many of us sit back and watch. So, the first thing I’m doing when I wake up in the morning is sharing my page, and donating $25 to someone else’s page. I believe we’ll be successful, and I base that belief on my expectation that a lot of people will stand up for these athletes this week. Here we go!”
The fundraiser remains open from November 22nd through the 26th. The NNF is already over a quarter of the way toward its goal, with help from donations from athletes like Jessie Diggins, who wrote “For my future relay teammates.”
During the campaign, you can also view a series of live features happening on The NNF Facebook Page at 1pm EST with athletes like Kikkan Randall, Billy Demong, Sophie and Simi Hamilton, and Caitlin and Brian Gregg.
Head to NationalNordicFoundation.org to show your support for American skiing today.
Rachel is an endurance sport enthusiast based in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado. You can find her cruising around on skinny skis, running in the mountains with her pup, or chasing her toddler (born Oct. 2018). Instagram: @bachrunner4646