Adopt an athlete

The Olympic craze is about to hit.

The Olympic craze is about to hit.

Prepare to be bombarded by everything maple leaf; to watch victory, defeat, controversy and mostly to hear the recurring theme of how poorly our teams are funded.

However, Ian Chamandy, business architect at Blueprint Business Architecture and Mike Fenton, president/CEO of NABS, both in Toronto, are working to solve the problem. They are pairing classrooms with athletes in a curriculum-based fundraising side-project called ‘Adopt an Athlete’ ( And they’re looking for Olympic sponsors to get involved.

The program offers the ability to leverage the association locally – and at schools, no less. ‘Adopt an Athlete is proven on a grassroots level,’ says Chamandy.

Last year’s trial run brought together Warren Tanner, an amateur skier, with a grade three class from McMurrich Junior Public School in Toronto. The students kept in touch during Tanner’s overseas competition season and raised $1,000 to help offset his expenses.

Now, Adopt an Athlete is thinking bigger. Starting out in the GTA, they are hoping to take the project national by 2010.

‘Our goal this year is to have 25 athletes and students paired up, 200 for the Beijing Olympics and 500 for the Vancouver games’ says Chamandy. Although at press time no sponsors had signed on, Chamandy expects that to change soon. ‘I have met with every major IOC sponsor,’ he says. ‘[I've gone] from one meeting, to one meeting a week.’