Wrestling, like many other sports, can teach its participants the values of practice, dedication and physical fitness. However, wrestling often finds itself competing with other sports for limited funds and willing participants. To keep wrestling programs for young people and adults financially viable, many schools and leagues rely on wrestling grants.
The basic aim of most wrestling grants is to encourage more people, particularly young people, to participate in wrestling and promote the sport to new wrestlers and spectators. Unlike loans from sports organizations or private lenders, wrestling grants never need repayment, giving recipients the freedom to expand by marketing themselves or enrolling more wrestling students and league participants. Wrestling grants may also serve to legitimize small wrestling leagues and school teams, providing them with funding, as well as endorsement from national and regional wrestling associations.
Wrestling grants can take many forms. Some are general cash grants, which teams and leagues can use as needed. These grants are useful for renting practice facilities, paying tournament entry fees, promoting meets and recruiting and training new wrestlers. Other grants take the form of specific equipment, such as uniforms, mats or wrestling shoes. Still other grants focus on coaching clinics and giving teams access to trained professionals.
Wrestling grants come from private wrestling organizations, public agencies and businesses. In some cases, multiple groups work together to provide funds and identify worthy recipients. For example, Chicago's Public League Wrestling relies on public agencies such as the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District, as well as the nonprofit Chicago Wrestling Coaches Association, to administer wrestling grants for youth. Another example is Brute Wrestling, which provides New York City-area wrestling leagues with grants that come from the athletic equipment company ASICS and the nonprofit USA Wrestling.
Wrestling teams, schools and league organizers can apply for grants by contacting agencies that offer them and filling out formal grant proposals. These forms ask about the organization's goals and current funding situation. They may also require leaders to provide detailed plans for spending grant money to improve the visibility or participation in wrestling. While some grants are open to all sports, others are specific to wrestling and feature fewer applicants and, therefore, less competition for funds.