The NASC Board of Directors were in Grand Rapids this week for their annual board retreat while previewing the region’s venues, hotels and restaurants in anticipation of Grand Rapids hosting the 24th NASC Sports Event Symposium April 3-7, 2016. Today, they named Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports as the beneficiary of the NASC Sports Legacy Fund in 2016 – an NASC tradition to make a lasting impact on the community hosting its annual symposium.
“This is an exciting week for Grand Rapids to showcase its incredible sporting event assets while the NASC is in town for its summer board retreat,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission. “And just as important as leaving with positive impressions about our region, they leave with a promise to invest in our community by naming Mary Free Bed as the 2016 beneficiary of the NASC Sports Legacy Fund.”
As the only nonprofit 501 (c) (3) trade association for the sports tourism industry, NASC produces the NASC Sports Event Symposium that it has held annually since 1992 – and Grand Rapids will host it for the first time, April 3-7, 2016 at DeVos Place. Mary Free Bed Named 2016 Beneficiary of NASC Sports Legacy Fund Begun in 2006, the NASC Sports Legacy Fund awards an annual grant and sports equipment donation to an organization in need in the host city of the NASC Symposium. The Sports Legacy Fund is a way for members of the sports tourism community to make a personal and lasting impact on sports programs and initiatives. The West Michigan Sports Commission nominated Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports and its wheelchair tennis program since it fits with the NASC’s criteria of donating to not-for profit organizations that provide individuals – particularly at-risk youth, veterans, or physically or intellectually disabled individuals – opportunities to participate in sport and encourage healthy lifestyles.
“Choosing Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports as the NASC Sports Legacy beneficiary means that our athletes are provided more opportunities to participate in the many sports we offer without a financial burden, allowing them to gain confidence, empowerment and life skills as individuals,” said Alicia Hass, sports coordinator at Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports. The NASC Sports Legacy Committee organizes a silent auction and raffle to raise money for the Sports Legacy Fund at the NASC Symposium each year. Proceeds from the auction and raffle will support the 2016 beneficiary and the NASC Sports Legacy Fund endowment. Originally developed as an equipment donation program by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, the NASC Sports Legacy Fund became a monetary donation in 2009 and has contributed more than $63,000 since then to programs in its conference host cities, including $20,000 in 2015 to the Running Rebels Community Organization in Milwaukee.
“The NASC has seen steady growth in donations to local charities in the host cities of the annual NASC Sports Event Symposium since 2009,” said Don Schumacher, CSEE, executive director of the NASC. “It is very exciting to come to a new market and raise funds to assist in the development of programs that will benefit the residents of the community.”
As an added benefit to the host city, the NASC also organizes a community service project as a program that all NASC Symposium attendees have the option of volunteering for while in town for the conference. This was launched as a new initiative at the 2015 NASC Symposium in Milwaukee, and due to its success, will be continued for the 2016 Symposium in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids project and location will be named at a later time.
About the West Michigan Sports Commission
The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to positively impact the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 400 sporting events and tournaments that attracted 560,000 athletes and visitors, generating $145 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit westmisports.com.
About the National Association of Sports Commissions
As the only nonprofit 501 (c) (3) trade association for the sports tourism industry, the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) is the most trusted resource for sports commissions, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), and sports event owners. The NASC is committed to the success of more than 700 member organizations and 2,000 serious-minded, sports tourism professionals. Our promise is to deliver quality education, relevant industry research and ample networking opportunities to our members – sports destinations, sports event owners, and vendors to the industry – and to protect the integrity of the sports tourism industry. For more information, visit sportscommissions.org.
About Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports
Mary Free Bed started wheelchair and adaptive sports programs more than 40 years ago with a single tennis team. The program has grown tremendously, and now approximately 400 children and 300 adults participate in a variety of organized team sports, clinics and camps every year. The Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports program is designed for anyone age 7 or older who cannot participate in traditional sports in the typical way, whether they were born with their disability or are challenged as a result of an injury, accident or illness. For more information, visit maryfreebed.com/sports.
NASC Board of Directors Summer Retreat
NASC Board of Directors with 2016 Sports Legacy Fund Beneficiary, Mary Free Bed Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports Program.
NASC Board of Directors testing out comfy chairs at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI.