We know that this application can be daunting, especially for new applicants. We highly encourage you to read this page carefully as it covers the vast majority of questions that we typically receive.
When can I apply?
The grant opens on September 1st and closes at 5PM Pacific Time on December 5th. You can apply any time within that time period. We highly recommend that you do not wait until the final week to submit your application so as to avoid technical difficulties. We will be unable to accept applications after that date.
Why are the grants online only now?
Access for Athletes has grown exponentially over the last few years. Paper grants required us to manually input each and every application into our database. With over 1,500 grants received last year that was a lot of time! With our current system we are able to focus more on each individual grant application. Also, many of the applications we received in previous years were incomplete. The structure of the new application helps to ensure that your application is eligible for consideration.
The environmental benefits are an added bonus!
What can I apply for?
We have three different categories. You are only able to apply for ONE each year:
● Coaching/training fees, like a gym membership and coaching fees
● Competition expenses, like entry fees, flights and lodging for an event
I received a grant last year. Can I apply again this year?
Yes! You can apply for a grant every year.
However, you may only apply for an equipment grant every three years. The exception is for athletes under 16 years old, as they are on a two-year cycle.
I received a grant last year. Do I have to apply again?
Every athlete must submit a new application every year. The application changes from year to year so we are unable to reuse a previous grant application. In addition, we want to learn how your previous grant benefitted you and what you’ve been up to over the last year!
Can I apply from outside the United States?
Yes! We have given grants to dozens of countries, and we gave grants to 29 different countries last year alone. Our only exception is that we cannot ship equipment overseas.
I’m not sure if my disability qualifies. How can I check?
We follow the guidelines of the International Paralympic Committee. If you have a physical disability that would qualify you to compete in any Paralympic sport then you’re eligible for a grant from CAF.
I’m not sure how much my equipment item should cost?
Equipment costs can vary wildly depending on the manufacturer and the type. Please consult with your teammates and the manufacturers to determine what will work best for you. Please do your research in advance so that you are able to list the exact item requested along with the suggested cost.
What is the maximum grant amount?
Grant amounts vary according to athletic ability, financial need and the type of grant requested. Grant amounts average $1,800, and they will not exceed $5,000.
Do I have to have a doctor’s note?
Yes, we must have proof of your physical disability in order to determine if you meet the requirements to apply for a grant. You may substitute a doctor’s note with a letter from another medical professional, like a prosthetist. This letter must state the nature of your permanent physical disability. As we only fund permanent physical disabilities you are welcome to provide an older medical reference letter; we do not require a recent physician’s visit. All letters must be uploaded within the application for it to be considered complete.
What is the personal reference letter?
This is a personal letter of recommendation, specifically explaining why you should receive a grant this year. We rely heavily on these letters to learn more about you as both an athlete and a person. This letter can come from anyone who knows you well - your coach, your spouse, your boss, a teammate, etc. This recommendation must be from 2014 so that we can ensure that we have the latest and greatest information on what is happening in your life.
What should I include in my bio?
Information that will share your story of adversity and involvement in sports or fitness. Include community involvement (volunteer, mentorship etc.) and other interests. Include any special awards or achievements you have received. What makes you stand out?
What if I don’t have a copy of my tax return?
If you don’t have a tax return because you didn’t file your taxes due to your income level, two paychecks and/or your full SSI statement, or a W-2 form will suffice.
What if I’m not a US citizen?
If you are not a US citizen please provide your country’s equivalent proof of income. We do require all finances entered into the income/expense form in the application to be converted to US dollars by the applicant.
What if I’m not employed?
If you only receive SSI benefits, please submit your full SSI statement. If you don’t receive SSI but receive unemployment benefits, please submit a copy of two unemployment checks. You must also provide financial information on anyone who is providing financial assistance/support to you.
If my adult child (18 and over) lives with me, do I have to include my income?
Yes, ALL household income that helps support your child must be included in the financials. If you have a special situation, please include this in the “Special Financial Circumstance” section of the application.
Do I have to provide my entire tax form?
No, just the first two pages of your tax return is required to verify income, dependents and profession. Please cross out your social security number on the form for security reasons.
The application asks if I can afford a ‘partial grant.’ What does that mean?
We want our grants to be purposeful. If we paid 100% of every grant that was requested we would have to severely limit the number of grants we award. By giving partial grants we are able to do the greatest good for the largest amount of people. If you are able to afford part of your grant request please indicate it by checking the ‘Partial Grant’ box on your application. Please note that if you do not check that box you run the risk and receiving no grant at all.
I was previously denied for a grant. What did I do wrong?
Please remember that we received more than 1,500 applications last year. We have to strike a delicate balance between fulfilling grant requests and making as much of an impact as possible. The majority of the applications that were denied last year were because we did not receive all of the materials. The single best way you can help yourself is by ensuring that your application is comprehensive, detailed and completed by the deadline.
Why are the grants only once a year?
Our grants correspond to our fiscal year. We give grants once per year so that we have an accurate idea of what funding we have available. We would love to give grants throughout the year, but it is not feasible at this time.
Why do I have to wait until April to find out about my grant?
Your application goes through a series of evaluations. It will be seen by multiple sets of reviewers throughout the process. April ties in with our fiscal year and ensures that we are able to use all of the funding available to make your grant stretch the farthest.
How will I find out if my grant was received?
You will receive a confirmation email after your grant is submitted. If you do not receive a confirmation email and you believe that you have submitted your grant please let us know immediately.
When will I find out if I was approved for my grant?
Grant award or decline letters will be mailed in early April.
If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here please contact Maleesa Bottini.