- Rapha announced the launch of a new charitable foundation on Wednesday.
- The will award grants to select charities that promote cycling development to underserved communities.
- Five groups have already received a total of $750,000 in funding.
The company behind some seriously sleek cycling shoes and fashionable bike shorts is taking a philanthropic turn: On Wednesday, Rapha, the luxury cycling apparel brand, announced the launch of a new charitable foundation.
The Rapha Foundation will seek to award various cycling groups that expand access to the sport. Twice a year, the foundation will give out six-figure grants to non-profits and other mission-based organizations with cycling development programs—particularly those that introduce riding to underserved communities.
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“Supporting the most important grassroots causes in cycling has been a longstanding dream at Rapha,” Simon Mottram, the company’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “I’m confident the Rapha Foundation will have a huge impact and further our goal of making cycling the most popular sport in the world.”
Five groups have already received a total of $750,00o in funding. While the foundation will consider grantees from around the world, this first round hails strictly from the U.S. (Interested applicants can submit a form for consideration on Rapha’s website, and detail in their proposals a funding plan for up to three years, with a maximum request of $150,000.)
The first five grantees are:
– The Amy D. Foundation, named in memory of the late road, cyclocross, and mountain bike national champion Amy Dombroski, which supports young women in cycling.
– Boulder Junior Cycling, based in Boulder, Colorado, which has youth development programs in mountain biking, cyclocross, road cycling, and track cycling.
– The MudFund, organized by USA Cycling, which offers development programs for young cyclocross racers.
– The National Interscholastic Cycling Association, which develops student athletes around the country through interscholastic and community-based programs.
– StarTrack, a free youth track cycling program based out of the Kissena Velodrome in Queens, New York.
Rapha will announce the next round of grants in November, with a focus on applicants from other regions. In total, it aims to award $1.5 million this year.
The launch comes after several other high-profile efforts by the company to promote cycling beyond clothing and accessory sales. Since its founding in 2004, Rapha has sponsored several pro teams: Rapha-Condor, Team Sky, and now CANYON/SRAM and EF Education First. Four years ago, it launched the Rapha Cycling Club to help build community among riders, and now has 23 clubhouses and more than 12,000 members globally.
And in April, the company published the Rapha Roadmap, 10-part research project on what can be done to advance the sport.