The Grainger Foundation makes $1 million donation to support the National Ability Center
Park City, UT—Today, the National Ability Center (NAC) announced it was the recipient of a generous $1M gift from The Grainger Foundation, an independent private foundation based in Lake Forest, Illinois, that provides substantive support to a broad range of organizations including educational, medical, cultural and human services institutions. The donation will be used to fully fund program specialist roles across a three year pilot program to improve talent retention, increase staff expertise and boost impact on participants. In addition, this donation will provide funding for training, continuing education and certifications, as well as a stipend for specialized equipment and gear needed to implement adaptive programming.
“With the increasing needs of adaptive sports worldwide, this is the time to empower our team to provide high quality program experiences to those with disabilities – a goal that can only be accomplished with highly trained, experienced and passionate staff,” said Caitlin Bognaski, Director of Development at the National Ability Center. “The Grainger Foundation’s generous donation will support this mission and positively impact our year-round program team, improving program delivery and staff development.”
Each season, the National Ability Center employs amazing instructors on their team, however some employees are only able to commit for a season or two. This limitation prevents instructors from gaining the experience and skills to work with a variety of participants across a multitude of programs, and their availability is restricted due to constraints including housing, benefits and training support. This donation will directly fund hourly wages, training and year-round health benefits, while meeting the NAC’s goals of retaining instructors, increasing training opportunities, building experts and increasing industry certifications. “This is a unique funding opportunity from The Grainger Foundation as our grants normally fund programmatic support as opposed to employee compensation and benefits. With that said, we are thrilled for this opportunity to invest in our staff to encourage skill development and employee retention” says Tracy Meier, Chief Programs Officer.
“The Grainger Foundation has a rich history of supporting human services institutions. We are pleased to support the National Ability Center’s mission of providing a safe, inclusive and uplifting environment for people with disabilities. Instructors, their expertise and the relationship they have with their clients are essential to achieving that mission. With this donation, we’re providing the funds necessary to develop a sustainable model that helps further develop instructor expertise while at the same time reducing turnover,” said Jim Ryan, Director of The Grainger Foundation.
Last year, the NAC hosted over 30,000 experiences for over 5,400 individuals. The NAC plans to expand these numbers each year with the assistance of donors and by continuing to provide training that leads to world-class adaptive experiences. If you are interested in learning more about the National Ability Center, visit discovernac.org.
About the National Ability Center
The National Ability Center (NAC) provides world-class adaptive recreation and outdoor adventures for individuals, families and groups with varying physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities. Rooted in Park City, UT for nearly 40 years, with a satellite location in Moab, the NAC empowers over 5,400 competitive athletes, children, active-duty, veterans and others yearly. Through on-campus and community-based programming, with individual and group activities, participants build self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills. The NAC hosts over 30,000 experiences and lessons each year including alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, cycling, swimming, rafting, archery, among others. In 2023, the 9,400 square foot McGrath Mountain Center opened to serve the NAC’s adaptive ski and snowboard programs, made possible by a historic 50-year land lease donated by Vail Resorts. With Vail’s EpicPromise as the National Ability Center’s largest annual community partner, the NAC is globally recognized as a leader in adaptive sports. For more information about the National Ability Center, visit discovernac.org.