Local News

Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports named Vermont winner in Red Sox grants addressing mental health in New England

BOSTON—Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports on Thursday night, July 22, received the $10,000 first-place award in Vermont as part of the 7th annual IMPACT awards, a joint initiative of the Red Sox Foundation and the Ruderman Family Foundation which this year focused on supporting organizations whose mission includes raising awareness on the issue of mental health and improving mental health outcomes of young adults in their communities.

By Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox
Winners of the 2021 IMPACT awards with (L to R) Boston Globe CEO Linda Pizzuti Henry, Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy, Executive VP of Social Impact for the Boston Red Sox Bekah Salwasser, and Shira Ruderman and Sharon Shapiro of the Ruderman Family Foundation (executive director and trustee, respectively).

One of 18 winners across six states in New England, Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports is a nationally recognized organization that empowers people of all abilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming regardless of ability to pay. In addition to sports, year-round programming options integrate environmental, holistic wellness and competitive training phi- losophies for people of all ages with cognitive, developmental, physical and emotional disabilities.

The IMPACT awards give Red Sox fans the opportunity to nominate their favorite nonprofits to receive support and funding. Through a $125,000 grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, the awards provide the winning nonprofits with either a first-place $10,000 grant, second-place $3,000 grant or a third-place $2,000 grant. Eligible organizations with the most online votes from fans were the designated winners, with three nonprofits selected from each New England state. The second-place winner in Vermont is Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, which provides challenging, extraordinary experiences in a safe and loving environment for children who have or have had cancer and their families, and the third-place winner is Turning Point Center of Addison County, which provides a safe, friendly, substance use-free environment where people in recovery meet for peer-to-peer recovery support, social activities, recovery coaching, education, and advocacy.

“For more than 30 years, it has been our mission to provide sports and recreational opportunities to everybody, people of all abilities,” said Jeff Alexander, director of strategic partnerships at Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports. “We know sports is a critical part in empowering people and improving not just physical health but mental health as well. We are honored to receive this year’s IMPACT Award from the Red Sox Foundation presented by the Ruderman Family Foundation. This grant will allow us to reach more young people in more com- munities throughout the state of Vermont through outdoor play. The ‘impact’ from the IMPACT Award will reach far and wide, and we are grateful for the support.”

The winners were recognized in a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park on Thursday, receiving their awards on the field alongside Ruderman Family Foundation President Jay Ruderman and Sharon Shapiro, trustee and community liaison for the foundation.

By Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox
Jeff Alexander of Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports (L) is presented with a first-place award for $10K at Fenway Park.

“We are pleased to offer our heartfelt congratulations to this year’s IMPACT Awards winners, whose contributions and missions are essential in providing mental health services and raising awareness surrounding mental health at a time when those priorities are more crucial than ever,” Jay Ruderman said. “As the often-overlooked mental health consequences of the pandemic will carry long-term implications across society, we look forward to seeing these grant recipients put the funds to good use as they fill glaring gaps in mental health services and make much-needed progress toward eradicating the stigma associated with mental health issues.”

“The Red Sox Foundation, in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, is deeply proud to recognize this year’s IMPACT Award recipients in Vermont, all of which are dedicated to working tirelessly to raise awareness and strength- en mental health outcomes for young adults,” said Bekah Sal- wasser, executive vice president of social impact for the Boston Red Sox and executive director of the Red Sox Foundation. “As we continue our efforts to support the recovery and rebirth in our local communities, it’s an honor to work alongside the Ruderman Family Foundation and not only support each of these incredible organizations with a grant, but also leverage our brands to amplify their impact across all of Red Sox Nation.”

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