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Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.

From The New York Times:

Her Parents Thought Swimming Lessons Were a Good Idea

Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.…

Former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka

Good video about former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka


Hi, my name is Kristie, from Rockingham, N.C.  I just stumbled onto your website, and it must be fate.  I have been trying to establish a program in my area that would offer low cost, or free, swim instruction to minorities-in particular African-Americans and Native-Americans whose rates of drowning are substantially higher than those of whites.  I have researched the subject, and went so far as to writing a grant proposal to a local establishment who informed me that in order to receive funding, I had to obtain 501c3 tax status.  So most recently, I have been navigating the maze of the IRS, but while shopping for a lifeguard suit, I stumbled on your website.  So my question is:  Do you guys offer any subsidiaries for your organization, or is there someway for similar parties to become incorporated within your system?  If not, maybe you could give me some tips on obtaining this non-profit status.  Thank you.  Email me at kristieparks@earthlink.net

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Hi Kristie,

First of all, welcome to DAP.  If you are serious about service, start the program and do not worry about 501.3.C - everything will fall in place if your energy level is high enough for you to kick it off without funding.  People will notice your service when you put forth the effort, and they will help.  There is money out there, and it will be there when the time comes.  Best wishes.


Ideas are priceless. 

I agree that the 501(c)(3) is not one of the first 100 things you need to have. Investigate, become aware, and learn -- of course. But it may be better to hook up with another agency / 501(c)(3). Partner. Collaborate. Unify. 


Finding the right fit is very, very hard. You need to have the right person to deal with and they need to have their board support. 


Start by asking around as to who at the CEO level in nonprofits in your area was a competitive swimmer. Ask around at established swim clubs and with coaches who have been in the area a while as to who they might suggest as possible partners. Even 20-30 miles away. They might have better insights of the forrest -- and not just looking at the leaf on one tree while stuck in the middle of things. 


Also, ask around with some politicians. Those on county council or on the staff of a city council have some awareness as to who is keen on what -- and who might be a good source for either partnerships or extended networking to best find the best partner organizations.


Good luck.


Mark R in Pittsburgh, PA, USA


all good ideas, but I'm not from Pittsburg.  Rockingham is a town of about 40,000 people, and I actually organized the first (and only) swim club in the county.  There has previously been no opportunity for competitive swimming, and I would be it for swim coaches.  Even 20-30 miles away, one would be lucky to find another established swim club.  I currently coach 24 kids, and we just finished our third year of competing, but I'm basically on my own in this arena.  There is actually only one year-long indoor pool within a 20 mile radius, and it is the only one designed with lanes for lap swimming.  We are what you northerners would refer to as a "hick town", and therefore, I desperately need the guidance of DAP.



Hi Kristie,


We started a program here in Toledo, Oh by partnering with a local swim club.  We started without 501c3 status as well.  As a swim club are you associated with USA Swimming?  Is there a YMCA in your area?  Maybe you can become local Make-A-Splash partners?


Feel free to write if you would like to learn more about how we got started. Visit our website.  www.joshproject.org


All the Best,


Tankeeya Butts


I am working with the Ben Hair Just Swim for Life Foundation (BH-JSL), a 501(c)(3) based in Charlottesville, Virginia that gives out grants to organizations that provide swim lessons to "at-risk" individuals. If you would like more information about our foundation, you can visit www.bhjsl.org.

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