Allyson Felix, representing Athleta child care grant program
Photo courtesy of Athleta
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Athleta and Allyson Felix Launch Child Care Grant Program for Mom-Athletes

The new $200,000 Child Care Grant will address inequalities facing female athletes with children. Gap Inc. brand Athleta joined TIME'S UP Care Economy Business Council to advocate for ongoing caregiving support programs for women.

Athleta and Allyson Felix, together with the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), recently announced The Power of She Fund: Child Care Grants. It is a first-of-its-kind grant program that commits $200,000 to help fund child care costs for professional mom-athletes traveling to competitions. The partners also unveiled the first cohort of grant recipients, six of whom are headed to Tokyo. Above all, the goal is to provide resources that enable mom-athletes to compete without barriers. Each participant will receive $10,000 from the Fund, putting its goal immediately into action on the biggest stage in sports.

A grant program that champions gender equality

This year, a light has been shined on the inequalities between men’s and women’s sports. These inequalities range from visibility to resources and investment. As a purpose-driven company made by women, for women, Athleta champions inclusion and the empowerment of women and girls. This grant program is undoubtedly an important step toward supporting female athletes holistically. It also marks a step towards holding the industry accountable for closing the gaps.

“As a mom and an athlete, I know first-hand the obstacles women face in sports,” said Felix, six-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Champion. “It was important to me and to Athleta that our partnership reflects that I am more than just an athlete. In fact, part of my contract includes provisions for my daughter, Camryn, to join me whenever I am competing. But not everyone has access to this type of support from a partner or sponsor. These grants are about showing the industry that all mom-athletes need this same comprehensive support to be able to participate in their athletic endeavors.”

Inaugural grant program recipients

With The Power of She Fund: Child Care Grants, Athleta and WSF continue their work to support individuals and communities of women to reach their limitless potential.

“Balancing training with being a full-time mom is not always a pretty picture,” said Lora Webster, Sitting Volleyball Player, mother of a 10- 8- and 5-year-old, and Power of She Fund: Child Care Grant recipient. “We don’t have family nearby to help with the child care, so much of my training happens in our home with my kids acting as trainers. There have been many instances where we simply can’t justify the cost of a babysitter on top of the cost of the gym and training site, so my training falls by the wayside.”

Nine mom-athletes, including six headed to Tokyo, have been named Child Care Grant recipients. Above all, these grants will provide the resources and support that mom-athletes need to focus on excelling in their careers. In addition to the $10,000, the recipients will also participate in roundtable discussions hosted by WSF. These discussions will involve two like-minded advocacy partners, &Mother and the National Women’s Law Center. The goal is to spark long-term, systemic change across the industry.

“This money has given us such a big breath of relief in the past few weeks,” Webster added.

Providing continued support and advocacy

Starting on July 8, 2021, Athleta and WSF welcome additional mom-athletes in need of support for their child care expenses to apply for the next round of Child Care Grants at here. This is the third grant in Athleta and WSF’s Power of She Fund program. The program was established in 2020 to financially support organizations keeping women and girls connected through movement.

“Our vision at the Women’s Sports Foundation is to unlock the possibilities in every girl and woman through the power of sport and movement,” said Deborah Antoine, WSF CEO. “The expense of child care is one of the biggest challenges facing mom-athletes who want to stay in the game while also raising a family. These grants will help provide financial relief so that these powerful and inspiring women can continue to compete at the highest levels in their sport.”

Athleta has also become a Member of the TIME’S UP Care Economy Business Council. It will join 300+ private sector businesses to advocate for public investment to build a comprehensive care economy. The Council chiefly seeks to reimagine our nation’s caregiving infrastructure. Its goal is to get people back to work and build a more robust, resilient economy.

“As a brand by women, for women, Athleta understands that caregiving is a key component in empowering women to reach their full potential,” explained Mary Beth Laughton, Athleta CEO and president. “I’m proud Athleta is able to launch our Child Care Grants for female athletes and to partner with organizations like TIME’S UP.  These important initiatives will help drive awareness for the ongoing need, while supporting our community of women.”

About Athleta

A certified B Corporation, Athleta is a performance lifestyle brand. Above all, its mission is to empower a community of active women and girls. Athleta’s versatile premium performance lifestyle apparel is designed by women for women with inclusivity at its core. Founded in 1998, Athleta integrates performance and technical features across its collection to support women across their entire lifestyle– from yoga and training to travel and sleep. In 2016, the company launched Athleta Girl mirroring its signature performance in styles for the next generation. Athleta is based in San Francisco, CA and is a Gap Inc. brand (NYSE: GPS). Athleta apparel is available at its over 200 retail stores across the United States, through its catalog, and at Athleta.com.

About Women’s Sports Foundation

The Women’s Sports Foundation chiefly exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has positively shaped the lives of millions of youth. This includes high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We’re building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org

About Allyson Felix

Athlete, mother and entrepreneur Allyson Felix is the most decorated Track & Field Olympian in history. She is a nine-time Olympic medalist and six-time Olympic Champion. She has won a mind-blowing twenty-five global medals at the Olympics and World Championships. Yet she is still dedicated to honing her craft. Her passion and determination are rivaled only by the greatest of the greats.

At this stage of her career, Allyson has found passions off the track that she believes are her true calling. She loves children and serves as a member of the Right To Play board hoping to raise awareness for underserved children in developing regions. Her determination is now carrying over to the business sector where she is the Founder and President of Saysh, a community-centered lifestyle brand for and by women. She also serves an investor in a plant-based protein bar company. Additionally, she serves as an advisor to a fitness technology startup. She has hosted a wrap-up series for an Emmy-winning prime-time show on NBC.

Allyson has accomplished so much, but her greatest accomplishment and her greatest love is her daughter, Camryn. Camryn reminds her everyday that she can never stop fighting for what is right in this world. She continues to strive for greatness in all areas. Through her actions, she reminds us that we all can achieve things we never dreamed of.