FLOW Foundation to fund 31 schools for Penns
The FLOW Foundation has given approximately $4.3 million in sponsorship to 31 schools as they prepare for participation in the Penn Relays Carnival later this month.
The foundation's executive chairman, Errol Miller, said FLOW is not only aiding these athletes on the track, but also contributing to their academic exploits and future opportunities often gained by Jamaican athletes while participating in the Penn Relays.
"The games are a known attraction for overseas talent scouts and agents and our Jamaican athletes are notorious for attracting high attention wherever they compete," he said. "We have, however, seen this materialising in a highly tangible way, even after the Games."
Miller said that the initiative of giving to the schools started when FLOW noticed how many schools had been reaching out for financial assistance in preparing their teams.
ASSISTANCE TO OTHERS
"This started 24 years ago and a couple of schools wrote to us to ask if we could assist them in getting to the Penn Relays," Miller told The Gleaner. "We thought this was an opportunity to help the young Jamaicans. Year after year, more schools began to write to us seeking assistance, and we tried to have a policy that any school that writes to us before the cut off date that we set, we're gonna help them."
Immaculate Conception High received sponsorship last year and Miller said that its entire team gained scholarships and placements at US-based schools.
Immaculate's head coach and technical director, Franz Forde, said he's pleased with the cheque the school has received, as it prepares to send a two-member team to this year's Relays.
"FLOW Foundation cut us a very nice cheque," he said. "If it wasn't for FLOW, this wouldn't be a reality. Track and field is expensive and we are a non-recruiting school. We are a school that, at the end of the day, not only focuses on track and field and not only on the other sporting disciplines ... but we do have to find other means to get our funding and FLOW is fully aware of that and they actually reached out and said they wanted to help. If it wasn't for them, some of my girls wouldn't be able to get a scholarship over there."
The 123rd staging of the Penn Relays takes place at the University of Pennsylvania from April 27 to 29.