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Becoming a Non-Profit Program
In 2015 we announced that we were turning our weightlifting team into a non-profit. I finally wrapped up the process earlier this year. It darn near took me two years to get the process done. Of course I was handling the process by myself while growing our for-profit business and growing my family. Was it worth it? Well that’s what this article is about.
The goal of becoming a non-profit was to offer companies a tax benefit for supporting our team. I love the sport of weightlifting, and I love working with at-risk kids. However neither one of those things brings in enough money to support my family, and neither one produces enough revenue to support the athletes like I envision.
I have talked a lot with other coaches in America. We all desire to see America produce some of the top weightlifters in the world. We all believe that it is totally possible. It’s just going to take some work and some funds. Our goals from the beginning were:
• Recruit the top athletes in America
• Provide a facility, coaching, and programming to excel
• Support our athletes with Stipends to offset costs of living so more of a focus could be placed on training
• Financially support our National Team during trips to National Competitions
• Recruit sponsors to help support our team
• Start an at risk program
We have been very successful so far. We have recruited some of the best weightlifters in America in all age groups. In 2016 we had one youth, four Junior, and two Senior Team USA Members. This year we have the following:
• One Youth World Team Member from New Zealand Isaac Lawgun
• One Youth Pan Am Team Member
• One Oceania Team Member (Isaac again) and he won
• One Junior Pan Am Team Member
• One Junior World Team Member
• Two Senior Pan Am Team Members
• Three Senior World Team Members
• One University World Team Member
We have the most Senior World Team Members than any team in America, and we definitely have the most total Team USA members. The best part is that we have the young ones. Two of our Senior World Team members are only 21-years-old. We have a fourteen year old that’s destroying all of the American Records in his age and weight class. His name is Morgan McCullough. We believe that he has the ability to one-day medal in the Olympics.
However to recruit like we want, we still need funds to create new programs and to improve the ones already in place. For example we need someone to run our non-profit fulltime. This person could be in charge of recruiting, raising money, and improving programs. One program that we could really use to recruit would be a local University Program. We have been working with Winston-Salem State University, but there is still a lot of work to do to get the program off the ground.
Thanks to our current sponsors:
Mash Elite Performance
We are able to provide a facility, good equipment, and coaching to support our athletes. Of course our sponsors don’t cover all of our costs. Mash Elite Performance, my for-profit business, still covers the majority of expenses. We currently support seven of our onsite athletes with stipends ranging from $50-$600. It’s not a lot, but we are one of only two programs in the country providing this service to our athletes.
Financially it’s been a tough couple of years. We’ve come up with some programs to raise money on our own to help offset some of the costs. We have started focusing on training athletes and adults again with all profits being used to run our program. We have also put on competitions to raise funds. Things are starting to work, but we still need help and partners to help fund employees to focus on running and advancing these programs. A lot of times it can be a one-man show, and that can be overwhelming.
During the past year, we have been able to support our team with travel expenses and competition fees to National events. However the Senior Nationals were in Chicago, and it cost our team over $12,000 to travel there. We are still recovering from that trip. If you want to start a non-profit, I recommend finding someone that is solely responsible for raising funds. It’s an expensive sport, but that’s what it takes if America is ever going to win.
Our sponsors have been awesome. We have received equipment, money, clothing, and supplement products that our team uses and appreciates. We couldn’t survive without them, so by all means if you love weightlifting, you should support these companies. We still need more partners.
One big thing that we want to take to a higher level is our at risk program. We want to work with the youth in our community that are hurting and struggling, but to do this we need to hire someone full-time. A program like this needs someone to oversee it, grow it, and nurture it. This is my main priority for the end of the year. Once again we need partners. I want to formulate a system to identify struggling youth. I want to teach them the sport of weightlifting to give them the skills that the sport provides like: goal setting, commitment, perseverance, hard work, and mindset. These skills will help these young men and women in real life, which is where we want to have programs to help them understand the application.
If you are thinking about starting a non-profit, it will take a lot of work. However the pay off is building a program that you can be proud of. You can build a program the right way without cutting corners to pad the profits. So was it worth it? Dang right because I have watched young men and women reach their dreams. I have also been able to give some life lessons when things didn’t go as planned. Either way I have been a part of the growth of the men and women on my team. The coaches on my team are actually helping our athletes reach their goals and become better humans. That’s what it was all about from the beginning.
If you want to partner with this amazing team, you can:
1. Donate to the Team by clicking on the following link:
2. If you or your company wants to become a proud sponsor of our highly visible and successful team, email me at Travis.Mash@mashelite.com. You can also post a question below if you want.
Our Affiliate Program is one of the major ways that we support the team. All profits go towards supporting this team. We are opening this program back up just for a few weeks. We also have partnered with Coach Vinh Huynh to take charge of this program to guarantee that our affiliate program is the best in the business.
I am going to release a blog later today explaining the benefits to this program in more detail, or you can click on the link below to find out more about becoming a Mash Barbell Affiliate: