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Fencing the Gap, USA Fencing’s Effort to Boost Access to Our Sport, Increases Awards to $42,500 in 2024

01/29/2024, 10:15am CST
By Bryan Wendell

In 2024, USA Fencing's Fencing the Gap initiative will offer its largest sum ever, significantly enhancing access to the sport across diverse communities.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In a significant stride toward inclusivity, USA Fencing is proud to announce a substantial increase in its commitment to Fencing the Gap. 

This initiative, dedicated to broadening access and introducing fencing to diverse communities, will distribute an unprecedented $42,500 in 2024.

Fencing the Gap was launched at the end of 2022 as a way to bring fencing to more people through scholarships, mini-grants, and incentives for athletes, coaches and clubs.

With the generous backing of All Kids Play, a national nonprofit championing equitable access to sports, plus contributions from the U.S. Fencing Foundation, the funds for 2024 will see a 42% boost from the $30,000 allocated last year.

This year, we’ll be disseminating 22 individual scholarships and 13 mini-grants to clubs working with youth who are people with disabilities, girls, and/or Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. 

Shannon Jolly, USA Fencing’s Senior Manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, is the creator of Fencing the Gap and shares his excitement about this new milestone.

“This year’s overwhelming response to Fencing the Gap has been confirmation that we are on the correct path to helping eliminate barriers and grow the sport of fencing,” he says. “Thank you to all of our applicants, as you are the reason for FTG. Most importantly, thank you to our partners at All Kids Play, generous donors and our U.S. Fencing Foundation team, who continuously help make FTG successful. It is our hope that with continued support we can further increase the resources we’re putting into our communities and set a new record in 2025.”

Jason Schmitz, Executive Director and Founder of All Kids Play, echoes this sentiment.

"All Kids Play is very excited about our ongoing partnership with USA Fencing to ensure the continued growth of youth fencing in the U.S. by providing increased access to fencing for underserved student-athletes who are currently underrepresented in fencing", he says. "All Kids Play and USA Fencing are aligned in our shared belief that the numerous like skills learned in the sport of fencing will propel student-athletes towards future success in all aspects of life. The prestigious recognition of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s 2023 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Choice Award for the Fencing the Gap Initiative is a great signal that USA Fencing is on the right path with this growing Initiative."

2024 Fencing the Gap Recipients

Scholarship Recipients

  • Auprell Edwards
  • Brielle Howard
  • Bryella Nicudemus
  • Chloe-Marie Mora
  • Heaven Blakely
  • Isi Ma'at
  • Jabreel Green
  • Jesse Pablo
  • Joziah Taylor
  • Karl Ricketts
  • Kevin Chase Miller
  • London Waller
  • Mac Wong
  • Margarita Potapenko
  • Mariam Abdul-Mutakabbir
  • Max Wong
  • Oliver Perayra
  • Phobiola Georges
  • Shelby Johnson
  • Tabitha Lawton
  • Valentina Mora
  • Xavier Griffin

Community Impact Grant Recipients

  • Atlanta Fencers Foundation
  • Boston Fencing Club
  • Bozeman Fencing Association **
  • Blair / Invicta 
  • Nellya Fencers Club
  • SwordPlay LA
  • The Fencing Center 

** Clubs approved for more than one initiative

Diverse Coaches Grant Recipients

  • Boston Fencing Club
  • Long Island Fencers Club
  • Salle De Long
  • SwordPlay LA

Tag(s): Updates