Grant money to expand local programming for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces

For Immediate Release
Dec 3, 2012

Phoenix, AZ – Today U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), announced that the Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center (SpoFit) is one of 117 organizations that have been selected to receive grant funding through Veterans Affairs and the United States Paralympics Integrated Adaptive Sports Program.

Grant funding to community sport organizations is provided through a partnership between the USOC and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Grants are provided to USOC partner organizations to increase the number and quality of opportunities for physically and visually impaired veterans to participate in physical activity within their home communities and in more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sport programs.

SpoFit opened one year ago and is the only fitness center in the western U.S. designed specifically for people with disabilities.  SpoFit Manager, Amber Blanchard, added, “We’re excited to be teaming up with the U.S. Paralympics.  The grant will have a direct impact on our ability to improve and expand the programs available to veterans in our community.”  SpoFit plans to use the grant to provide scholarships to disabled veterans to attend the fitness center and participate in group events.

“This funding is helping to meet the need for Paralympic and adaptive sport programming for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces in communities across the country,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, there were 20 veterans and service members on the U.S. team who accounted for a total of 13 U.S. medals. We hope to build on that success at the elite level as well as continue to grow the number of veterans participating in Paralympic and adaptive sports at the grassroots level moving forward.”

“Veterans Affairs is pleased to be partnering again with the USOC to provide funding for these programs,” said Chris Nowak, national director, VA Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events. “This support is crucial to the thousands of veteran athletes who are participating and improving their lives along the way.”

The Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center is a program of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL).  ABIL is Arizona’s largest independent living center. Both SpoFit and ABIL are located at the Disability Empowerment Center (DEC) campus at 5025 E. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85034.


Media Contact: Loren Worthington

Communications & Marketing Manager

Office:  602-386-4278