The Florida Gold Coast (FGC) LSC, one of 59 local organizations responsible for administering USA Swimming activities, has launched a grant program to help its member clubs while those clubs are shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. The Florida Gold Coast LSC is home to 63 year-round clubs with over 5,000 members. Serving the southern tip of Florida, including the Miami area, is the 29th-largest LSC in the U.S.
Announced on Friday, the program allows FGC member clubs to apply for a one-time grant to allow them to continue operations during the “globally disrupted revenue period” set by the U.S. government as running from February 15th-June 30th, 2020. The LSC will award up to $85,000 in total to its member teams.
The program is designed to help clubs stay solvent while their members are out of the water and while club income is reduced. To be eligible, clubs must “exhibit disruption of operational revenue and/or coach compensation.” The grant application form is very specific in what will be covered (operational costs, like employee salaries) and what will not be covered (re-granting programs for club members, replacement of lost sales, apparel, equipment, marketing or promotional materials, or construction or renovation).
Applications for grants are due by April 13th, with recipients to be announced between April 17th and 20th.
In order to be eligible, clubs have to meet certain considerations. The Local Swim Committee has requested that clubs consider larger aid options available, including those recently announced via the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of the federal government bailout package that includes 1% interest loans for businesses that don’t lay off employees.
Florida issued a statewide stay-at-home order that went into effect on Friday, making the state one of the last in the nation to put such an order in place. This limits residents to “only…necessary and essential activities” outside of the home.
The announcement comes as teams across the country turn to their LSCs and USA Swimming to help bridge the gap until they are able to resume normal operations.
- Michael Murray: “Each LSC Has a Responsibility to Ensure Future of Its Clubs
- Atlantis Aquatics Coach, Olympic Gold Medalist, Rhi Jeffrey Calls for Financial Help from USA Swimming
An LSC Treasurer’s Report from April of 2019 showed that the Gold Coast LSC had around $300,000 in cash and an additional $600,000 in investments on hand. Most of the country’s LSCs have large reserves of cash and investments on hand. Florida Gold Coast’s net reserves, which were around $885,000 in April 2019, is roughly three-and-a-half times the organization’s annual budget which for 2019 was $236,500.
Teams from around the country have reached out to express frustration over their LSCs lack of similar grant programs to date, including a growing cry in the country’s largest LSC, Southern California Swimming, which in its March 2019 report had reserves of almost $4.7 million.
- April 3, 2020 – Grant application opens at 5pm EST
- April 13, 2020 – Grant application due at 5pm EST
- April 17-20, 2020 – Grant recipients announced
- Funds disbursed by April 30, 2020
From the program documentation:
The 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has sparked an unprecedented worldwide pandemic. Local, State, and National government agencies urged a nationwide halt to normal business operations and group gatherings. In the sport of swimming, this includes cancellation of swim events worldwide. In Florida, every locality is experiencing suspension of team training and practices. Widespread government-mandated pool facility closures and beach closures have occurred to the Florida Gold Coast teams throughout Broward, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach Counties since mid-March 2020. This caused significant disruption to club business operations within our Florida Gold Coast LSC.
The immediate financial impact on our US economy, especially small businesses, is dramatic. Clubs/teams are experiencing an urgent need for support through this abrupt and unforeseen cessation of training fee revenue. The impact on coaches is immediate as employers and business owners are forced to make difficult staffing and facility decisions. To lose even one club to COVID-19’s immediate aftermath would be a tragic loss for the LSC. The FGC LSC Board of Directors offers the opportunity to apply for a one-time relief grant to allow for continued operations in the globally disrupted revenue period (US government-declared disaster dates of Feb 15-June 30, 2020).
The FGC’s mission is “To promote growth and development of a diverse swimming community through education, innovation, and a commitment to excellence.” This aligns with our vision “To create a healthy community in south Florida which cultivates safety, fitness and competitive excellence through swimming.” This immediate relief is intended to help club leaders and coaches find time to react and adapt to the changed landscape of local youth sports. It is intended to “bridge the gap” between the pandemic closures to when a club/team has secured longer term recovery resources. This grant is not intended as long-term support or is in any way indicative of future support.