The Donor Spotlight campaign highlights supporters of the Ultimate Foundation and its programs and initiatives, giving donors the opportunity to share their experiences in ultimate, why they donated and other related topics.
What is your connection to the sport of ultimate now?
I am an avid player and supporter in my community. Currently, I work at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., where I play men’s and mixed ultimate intramurals with JMU students and club ultimate members. I am also a supporter of the local ultimate scene that encourages men, women and children to come out and learn about the sport and play in various levels of pick up and tournament play.
What aspect about ultimate are you most passionate about? Why?
The inclusivity of ultimate is what I am most passionate about and is what drew me to the sport in the first place. At ultimate’s most basic level, all you need is one disc to play; it is a low-cost, high-opportunity sport open to people of all ages, races, genders and economic backgrounds. Players from all levels of athletic experience are welcome to join in, and Spirit of the Game encourages teamwork, collaboration and encouragement for all who step on the field.
How has ultimate impacted your life or the life of someone you know?
It sounds cliche, but ultimate promotes the values that we strive for in life and has afforded me the opportunity to experience and expand on those experiences. Ultimate has provided a safe and fun outlet for physical activity while also teaching me the importance of working together as a team towards a common goal, and doing so with a positive and inclusive mindset. More than anything, ultimate has taught me to invest in others and have fun along the way.
Why did you give to the Ultimate Foundation?
Originally, my mother-in-law donated to the foundation in my name as a holiday present, which led to my own donation a short time later. The focus on serving youth and underserved populations is one that is near to my heart, and I believe that providing these opportunities that may otherwise not be available for these populations goes a long way in developing high-character individuals who go on to lead meaningful lives.
What is the Ultimate Foundation doing that excites you the most?
The Ultimate Foundation is engaging in exciting and meaningful work to spread the joy of the sport. I am most excited about the foundation’s focus on traditionally underserved and underrepresented groups. The beauty of this sport is in how accessible it can be for all who want to play. In providing these opportunities to become involved, the foundation is opening the door for these groups to explore and engage in a sport that accepts and welcomes them as they are and allows them the opportunities to be themselves while playing with a diverse group of other ultimate players.
Why does this cause matter to you?
Community engagement is my passion, and providing opportunities to those groups who traditionally may not have access is something I am committed to in my personal and professional life. Working in a community relations and foundation role in Major League Soccer showed me how impactful these programs can be, no matter how many people are affected. Every time someone engages in work that focuses on providing opportunity for another, the world becomes a more close-knit and connected place. I believe ultimate was formed on such a foundation of acceptance, inclusivity and mutual respect that there is no better cause to support as our world becomes increasingly more connected.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would that be?
We are such an interconnected global society, and we have far more similarities than differences between us. A focus on celebrating the different perspectives and experiences that each of us contribute to this world while working towards a shared common goal is a direction that benefits everyone. I am committed to working towards this goal, and a major part of that is supporting these types of grassroots efforts that afford opportunities to contribute for everyone in the world regardless of their status.