USATF SoCal association handing out $7,000 to big-meet masters, para-athletes

Chris Gentile, shown after winning 2014 Drake Relays masters 800, is force behind grant program.

The four-county Southern California Association of USATF is making good on its nonprofit status — offering grants to masters and para-athletes this summer. Chris Gentile, a longtime master middle-distance star, is interim president of the association and shared details in a recent phone chat.

Lots of info is sought from potential grant-winners.

Chris says $7,000 is available for those headed to Spokane nationals and Malaga worlds (also the Para-Athletics Youth World Games in Athlone, Ireland) — for travel, lodging and entry fees, etc.

Applications will be reviewed by the association’s Athletes Advisory Committee led by Lorraine Williams. It asks a lot of questions, including some that may freak you out — your Social Security number and this: “Please provide an annual stated income from part-time or full-time employment for the current and prior year (this may be verified by income tax statements upon request.)”

Chris says this info is needed to comply with tax law. (See the form here.)

“The committee is fair, and we want to get this money out,” Chris told me. The money comes from membership fees (especially a large youth base) and meet-sanction revenues. The group has 6,700 paying members and a email list of 16,000, she says.

“We’ve gotten a little more aggressive on getting the funds out,” she said.

Chris — who spoke with national masters chair Rex Harvey about its process for picking IAAF Beijing worlds grant winners — says the reviewers will look at need and merit, with masters rankings in the mix.

At the same time, her association is launching a medical network that includes “some of our Southern California best doctors that work with track and field athletes.” Chris says $3,000 will be used to defray sports medicine expenses for elite athletes. A 10 percent discount is involved.

The grant program has gotten a lot of interest from masters, she says. She’s unsure of the exact amounts but says: “There may be one [athlete] that stands out more than the others.” Grants may range from $300 to over $1,000, she told me.

SCA is the second-wealthiest USATF unit in the country, she said.

“We’re a not-for-profit,” she says. “Our job is to give the money back to the programs. That’s my big motto right now — to keep track and field alive.”

Contribute to support independent track and field journalism:

About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

Be the first to comment on "USATF SoCal association handing out $7,000 to big-meet masters, para-athletes"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.