For the last dozen years Stephanie Dionne Lucas, a kindergarten teacher from Brunswick, Maine, has been following the alpine snowboard racing successes of one of her former students, Myles Silverman.
She recently got to reach out and help him take a major step forward. Following a link to Silverman's RallyMe page, Lucas read about the young man's effort to garner financial support for travel expenses to the FIS Junior World Championships in Yabuli, China in March.
Reading what Silverman, 17, had written, Lucas only got as far as the words, "My story is about perservering through everything and achieving my goals" before she clicked on the Boost Now button.
"He is a fine young man who will make the USA proud," said Lucas. "Plus he promised me a signed photograph for my kindergarten classroom -- a hard working role model for my students to look up to."
Unbeknownst to her, she'd helped Myles make another mark. Her contribution included the millionth dollar raised for USSA's athletes and clubs on the RallyMe platform.
"This is a major milestone for people-to-people athletic fundraising," said Bill Kerig, founder and CEO of RallyMe.
"In 2013, USSA took the lead in sports crowdfunding and now its athletes are reaping the seeds that its leadership sowed. One million dollars is the most that any national governing body has raised for its athletes on RallyMe, or any other crowdfunding platform. And USSA's athletes are continuing to embrace the platform and achieve success in greater and greater numbers."
“My RallyMe campaign really shows how much people believe in me and how far it has come," said Silverman. "The financial support, and for them to have my back and believe in me through this online community is amazing. It definitely helps me reach my goals.”
USSA and RallyMe partnered in 2013 to help USSA members with a tool to find additional support for vital training and travel expenses.
All funds collected go directly to the athlete or club. Because of the initial success and USSA’s desire to provide a state-of-the-art program for its athletes in need of additional funds, the two entities launched USSA.RallyMe.com, a groundbreaking platform exclusively for USSA athletes and clubs in October 2014.
In all, more than 240 athletes and clubs have raised more than $1 million from over 4,800 separate contributions. USSA.RallyMe.com is designed to help athletes and parents from the Olympic level to the grassroots.
"Our partnership with RallyMe has exceeded our expectations," said Luke Bodensteiner, USSA's executive vice president of athletics. "
The uptake by USSA athletes at both the elite team and club level has been substantial, and the funds that have been raised have been vital to our athletes, and to our success as a team. The support provided by RallyMe has created a true partnership between USSA, its athletes, and the Boosters who have supported the athletes and our mission."
Kerig, a former professional mogul skier, was especially pleased that of the 19 national governing bodies that RallyMe is in partnership with, USSA hit the million dollar milestone first.
"Since the entire RallyMe staff skis or snowboards, it is especially gratifying to see USSA reach the $1 million milestone," he said.
"We, as well as all the skiers and snowboarders who've used the platform, have USSA's forward-thinking leadership to thank for embracing this empowering technology."
Silverman's Rall has one week left to reach his funding goal. He is a little over 20 percent of the way there.