Since beginning its program with a borrowed boat and eight inner city kids nine years ago, Row New York has been a pioneer in the effort to make rowing accessible to young people from the city’s urban neighborhoods.
Today, the program provides both athletic and academic opportunities to over 300 young people from New York’s under-resourced communities and is a leader in the effort to increase minority participation in rowing.
For it’s effort, innovation and determination, USRowing is pleased to announce that Row New York is the recipient of the 2011 USRowing Anita DeFrantz Award. Introduced this year, the award will be given annually to honor leaders in diversity and inclusion.
“Row New York is honored to be the first recipient of USRowing's Anita DeFrantz award,” said Amanda Kraus, Executive Director of Row New York. “We have worked very hard here in New York City to make rowing accessible to thousands of young New Yorkers over the last nine years, and we are thrilled to be recognized for these efforts by USRowing.”
The award will be presented at the inaugural Golden Oars Awards Dinner on Wednesday, November 30, at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.
“Row New York embodies a highly-successful approach to opening rowing to a diverse population of middle school and high school-aged kids who have never been exposed to the sport,” said USRowing Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Merry. “Amanda Kraus' leadership and vision has provided hundreds of women with the opportunity to develop life building blocks and achieve excellence, both on and off the water, through the framework of competitive rowing. It is a fitting honor that Row New York be recognized with the inaugural Anita DeFrantz award, as Anita has been a pioneer and leader in the advancement of athlete rights and inclusion in sport long before it became a timely issue in Olympic sport.”
Row New York is a non-profit organization that rows out of the Queens Boathouse in Queens and runs an academic support program at the Flushing YMCA. The program serves hundreds of students in grades 6 through 12, has participants from all of New York’s boroughs and represents a wide range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
It offers not only participation in the sport of rowing but tutors students and helps prepare them to take college entry examinations. One hundred percent of Row New York’s students have gone on to college and many of them are in top schools rowing on full or partial scholarship.
The award is named in honor of Anita DeFrantz, who won a bronze medal rowing in the U.S. women’s eight in the 1976 Olympics, the first time women rowers were allowed to compete. DeFrantz was captain of the U.S. rowing team. She has been, and continues to be, a leader and advocate for women’s inclusion in sport. In 1986, the International Olympic Committee appointed DeFrantz to lifetime membership.
She was the fifth woman to ever hold a seat on the IOC and is both the first African-American and the first American woman to serve on the committee. She became the first female vice-president of the IOC executive committee in 1997.
DeFrantz led an unsuccessful effort to overturn the 1980 Olympic boycott but was appointed vice president of the 1984 Los Angeles Games Organizing Committee and helped convince 43 African nations not to boycott the games after South African runner Zola Budd was allowed to compete for Great Britain.
As a member of the IOC, DeFrantz was instrumental in getting women’s soccer and softball added as medal sports in time for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She also serves as vice president for FISA, the international governing body for rowing.
Co-hosted by USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation (NRF), the dinner will honor excellence in the sport during 2011 and serve as a fundraiser for USRowing’s national teams and its diversity, inclusion and adaptive programs. The celebration will feature a presentation of several of USRowing’s traditional awards, as well as the introduction of the new USRowing “Fan’s Choice” Awards to be announced in the coming week.
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing’s official suppliers include Boathouse Sports, Vespoli, Win Tech, Filippi, Croker Oars, Rudy Project, Concept2, Nielsen Kellerman, PowerHTV and Ludus Tours. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors, ANXeBusiness Corp and Voxer. For more information, visit www.usrowing.org. USRowing has created compelling programs to engage sponsors leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games, with proceeds going to help ensure the U.S. team’s success. Opportunities also exist to partner with America Rows – supporting diversity initiatives and adaptive programs. For more information, please contact Beth Kohl at firstname.lastname@example.org.