LAKE PLACID - Since coming to town in 1999, Ironman Lake Placid has given back more than $1.3 million to the Lake Placid community, and officials plan to nudge it even higher this month at their annual welcoming ceremony.
The triathlon race, owned by the World Triathlon Corporation, created the Ironman Foundation in 2003 to distribute donations to the communities where its races are held.
Overall, the Ironman Foundation plans to give a total of $66,000 to Lake Placid this month. Of that money, $40,000 will be given to volunteer groups from Lake Placid, which will be distributed to almost 30 organizations, according to the Ironman Foundation. Some of those groups who will receive money include a $2,500 donation to the Lake Placid Outing Club, $2,500 to the Adirondack Foundation, $5,690 to the Adirondack Medical Center and $500 East Branch Friends of the Arts.
Ironman announcer Mike Reilly speaks during the 2014 Ironman Lake Placid welcoming ceremony in Mid’s Park.
(Photo provided — Ironman)
The grant recipients will be presented their checks at the Ironman welcome ceremony to be held 7 p.m. Friday, July 24 at Mid's Park.
Christine Perkins, Ironman Foundation's community relations manager, said Lake Placid and Ironman have a storied relationship that the triathlon respects.
"It's very important for us to establish a relationship with the nonprofits in the area and show our appreciate for how much the community supports our events," Perkins said. "Essentially we are giving back $40,000 to have a volunteerism component, a variety of nonprofits in the Adirondacks that help support our event. We are giving back $26,000 to the community grant program."
"When they say they've given $1.3 million, there is no question they've given that," said Cali Brooks, executive director of the Adirondack Foundation. "A big chunk of it has gone into the Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund."
The Adirondack Foundation administers the sports fund that they held establish with the Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation and Ironman. Each year grants are given out to help support local athletes in pursuing their sporting dreams. Olympians Chris Mazdzer and Jamie Greubel were recipients of the fund last year.
"They wanted to create a permanent fund to support young people's engagement in sports," Brooks said.
Brooks said Ironman's annual donation helps link the race with the community and it also gives local nonprofits a chance to fundraise for their unique missions.
"I think one of the things that has really been successful about the Ironman's approach, is that for small and mid-sized organizations, whether they be voluntary or well known organizations in the region, they can participate in the Ironman experience and get charitable dollars to support their mission," Brooks said.
Town Supervisor Roby Politi said most people know that Ironman has done a lot for this community.
"You know they've done great things, given an ambulance," Politi said. "They bought police cars, contributed money for that. The thing we've used the most though is the hockey box, near the oval. Oh my gosh, that thing is utilized more than the oval is."
Politi said the Ironman founders, Graham and Sue Fraser, bought and paid for the small hockey rink about seven years ago.