The George Pocock Rowing Foundation (GPRF) announced a new fund to promote accessibility and inclusion at rowing programs across the United States. A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund aims to raise at least $1 million this year (and at least $3 million over three years) to get more kids on the water, fund education, scholarship, and mentorship programs focused on non-traditional rowing communities and communities of color where youth face barriers to participation in the sport. Initial contributions, financial commitments, and in-kind offerings from prominent companies in the rowing community already have the Fund well on its way to its first $1,000,000 raised in this important effort.

Would you like to help transform the lives of more young athletes? By donating to A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund, your contribution assists the GPRF youth development initiative, changing lives through the sport of rowing. 

Partnership with Arshay Cooper and A Most Beautiful Thing

The launch of the fund coincides with the premiere of A Most Beautiful Thing, a documentary that chronicles the first all-black high school rowing team in the country, available on Xfinity on-demand starting July 31. The film is based on the true story and memoir of Arshay Cooper, recounting how a group of young men growing up on the West Side of Chicago, while living through the daily battles of trauma, violence, and poverty, were able to come together through an unexpected, yet powerful opportunity.

The film is narrated by Grammy and Oscar-winning artist Common, executive produced by NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill, NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade, and Grammy-winning producer 9th Wonder, and directed by award-winning filmmaker and Olympic rower, Mary Mazzio.

Inclusion Fund Overview

Through the new fund, the GPRF and Cooper will pursue their shared passion to spread rowing to underserved communities on a national level, including programs that not only aim to get more kids on the water but also:

Educate athletes, coaches, and boathouse leaders across the country on the importance of accessibility and inclusion within the sport.

Raise awareness around rowing and the opportunities it affords student-athletes, particularly traditionally underserved and minority communities.

Fund need-based scholarships and other services to remove barriers such as team fees, equipment, transportation, language barriers, and after-school support.

Report demographic data on the fund’s programs and participating boathouse to benchmark, track progress, and ensure effectiveness over time.

By working with school districts across the country through programs such as ErgEd, the GPRF introduced over 25,000 new youth to rowing in 2019. Despite much success, the GPRF also acknowledges that it has not done nearly enough to encourage participation from more diverse and underserved communities.

The Fund is coordinating its activities with the National Rowing Foundation and USRowing to ensure that the entire rowing community is coming together, inspired by Arshay’s story, to expand access to the sport. The GPRF has also partnered with US National Team and current Olympic coach, Mike Teti, to help develop programs that not only make the sport more accessible but help youth realize the opportunities rowing can create later in life. Teti will work with a team of rowing ambassadors, including collegiate and Olympic athletes, through volunteering, coaching, and leadership at rowing programs across the country.



1. George Pocock Rowing Foundation launches A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund. George Pocock Rowing Foundation Website. Available at: Accessed August 2020.

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