We launched our first Juneteenth Challenge in 2020. This year, over 5500 athletes joined us completing 1900 meters (or more) on June 19. Juneteenth commemorates a day of freedom and emancipation. Hosting this challenge is one small way that Concept2 looks to make an impact on social inequities.
This year, Concept2 partnered with the Black Coaches and Athletes Association (BCRA) as the recipient of this year’s Juneteenth Challenge fundraising. BCRA inspires a new generation of athletes, provides support to the community, and changes the face of excellence in rowing. We’re excited to donate $30,564 to the BCRA this year. Concept2 believes in this organization; they have the leadership and expertise to attract and foster talent in our sport.
“This gift will be significant in helping us grow,” explains Ashley Pryor from BCRA. “With Concept2, we will be able to build an endowment, develop talent, and lead professional development. We want more people of color—of all ages—to pick up an oar.”
Concept2 Founders Dick and Peter Dreissigacker and co-owner Judy Geer were able to present our Juneteenth Challenge donation to BCRA representatives, Coaches Ashley Pryor and Craig White, in person. Ashley Pryor and Craig White coached at Arshay Cooper’s Leadership Rowing Camp in Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vermont. Participants honed their rowing skills at camp while also learning from leadership development workshops. At a Concept2 tour, the campers also learned how oars and sculls are made.
“We’re so excited to support the BCRA. From my own experience as a rower in the first women’s Olympic regatta, I know the challenge of being a pioneer—starting something new. The BCRA is developing the connections and resources to ensure that the sport attracts and retains diversity and this work is so worthy of our support. ” explains, Judy Geer, of Concept2 and Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
Juneteenth is just one way we support racial equality. Concept2 has an equipment donation program to support ongoing efforts to diversify the face of rowing. In the past year, Concept2 has donated over 120 RowErgs, oars and sculls to eighteen different rowing clubs and teams who are working on diversity, equity and inclusivity initiatives. Our goal is to remove barriers so that all athletes have access to rowing.
Concept2 has also taken an active role in supporting the Pocock Foundation‘s A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund and their ErgEd program. Concept2’s Social Justice team, an employee-initiated team created in 2020, meets regularly to learn about issues, look at our business practices, and discuss opportunities. Our teams continue to find ways to reflect on the past and make a difference in the future through our actions. We are dedicated to supporting the growth of rowing for all athletes.