Genesis Foundation for Fitness & Tennis also known as ‘GFFT’ (pronounced “gift”) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) foundation. It was founded by Genesis Health Clubs of Wichita, Kansas. The purpose of GFFT is to provide funds to allow all citizens, regardless of background and means, the opportunity to participate in recreational and/or competition fitness activities.
How did it start?
GFFT was founded by Genesis Health Clubs in 2006. For more than 20 years, Genesis Health Clubs has grown with the community, watching their members improve their lives as the result of physical activity. With this in mind, Genesis Health Clubs expanded its mission to provide a select number of funding opportunities for young people each year.
GFFT was founded on the premise that physical activity improves quality of life. When begun at an early age, physical activity offers healthy habits that may result in life-long health and well-being benefits. The Foundation will provide funding to at-risk, disadvantaged and otherwise under-funded youth, including but not limited to:
- Students at low-income schools.
- Promising athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Individuals with physical and mental disabilities.
- Other individuals with limited means and opportunities.
Why is this project important?
All children should be allowed the opportunity to play sports. Sports and fitness create a positive impact in childrens’ lives.
GFFT scholarships are funded through-local fundraisers, GFFT donors and grants. Some contributions are also made by Genesis Health Clubs.
GFFT has made a meaningful difference in over 1,000 childrens’ lives. Funding has been awarded to:
- Help build a playground at a local elementary school.
- Pay for wheelchair tennis tournaments to qualify for the Paralympics.
- Fund individuals to participate in ice skating competitions.
- Provide athletic opportunities for children in foster care.
A few examples of GFFT recipients are:
- Charles “Goose” Doughty, Junior. Tennis Foundation: Received $1,500 (USD) to help the foundation provide no-cost tennis lessons and other sports-related activities for children and young people residing in several disadvantaged areas of Wichita, Kansas. Their focus is on youth from ages 6 to 18. Approximately 300 children and young people participated.
- Caroline Kastor: Received a $1,000 (USD) Olympian Award to help fund a trip to Brazil with the Regional Olympic Team. Caroline was the only ‘Kansan’ selected in her age group to participate with the United States Youth Soccer Girls Olympic Development Program.
- Trae Goken: Received a Young Achiever Award for $1,000 (USD) to help fund a trip to Sydney, Australia to represent Kansas and play in the “Down Under Football Bowl Game.”
Are you surprised that there are Charitable Foundations running alongside health clubs? Here at Gymtopia we used to be surprised, but not any more. Every week we are discovering more of them. So the next time you see a private health club and think it simply caters to a small group of reasonably ‘affluent’ members, think again. You never know, there just may be a Charitable Foundation in the wings doing good in the communities they operate.