October 29, 2020
Article by Gina Gotsill, Bay City News Foundation
BORP’s Director of Development, Elaine Beale was interviewed for this article which highlights how BORP pivoted to virtual programming and a virtual fundraiser – Revolution 2020 – due to the pandemic.
Article is featured on Local News Matters – Bay Area
Throughout the pandemic, the BORP Youth Wheelchair Basketball Team has continued to stay connected through weekly Zoom meetings. Led by coach Trooper Johnson, the content of the meetings has expanded beyond basketball, and the youth have been able to get to know each other even more.
Participants also discovered that their talents extend far beyond basketball. In fact, the team is full of musicians, actors, and activists. Many of the meetings have opened with mini concerts, allowing each of the interested athletes an opportunity to share their passions off the court, and to develop a new and deeper appreciation for each other.
2020 has, of course, been an eventful year. And while the youth are not able to play sports in the gym, they’ve had lively discussions about many of the critical topics that have come up during the pandemic. Conversations have covered issues like racial justice, inclusion, and the importance of voting. Four of our recently graduating athletes registered and voted for the first time this year, something we are all proud of!
Trooper continues to follow up with the youth and offers academic support when needed. BORP has also issued equipment to some of the youth.
Naturally, everyone is looking forward to getting back to the gym as soon as possible. But in the meantime, the BORP youth report that the program has been critical in keeping them active and connected during this really challenging time.
BORP is thrilled to announce that, with a grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, we are launching a new program designed to increase opportunities for fitness and recreation for those in the spinal cord injury community (though activities will be available to all).
Offerings will include virtual classes, kayaking, adaptive cycling, interpretive hikes, sports clinics, mentoring, and an Adaptive Sports & Recreation Festival.
Says Cynthia Noonan, the BORP SCI Program Manager, “Living with a spinal cord injury myself, I know from firsthand experience how getting involved in the BORP community can be life changing. We are really excited to launch this initiative and would love to get input from the SCI community so we can best serve their needs and interests.” Feel free to send your thoughts and suggestions to Cynthia at email@example.com.
By: Elaine Beale, BORP Director of Development
The Revolution is a critical part of BORP’s fundraising activities, raising about 20% of our budget each year. But this year, when the pandemic forced us to go virtual, we were worried about the event’s success. Fortunately, the Revolution 2020 has been a story of a community rallying together to support BORP during this difficult time!
There are so many examples of people who contributed that it’s impossible to list them all here. But just one example is the TBB Team, captained by BORP board member, Al Spector. Like many members of our board, Al was concerned about BORP’s finances given the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. When he mentioned the idea of forming a Revolution team to other board members, several immediately said, “I’m in!” Al also recruited some friends new to BORP. Soon there were 18 members of the TBB team. Together, they raised more than $20K to support BORP!
Says Al, “We made our team effort as inclusive as possible. Some members did the virtual classes and others cycled. Eleven of us cycled together, with most of that group doing a 10-mile ride from Sausalito to Mill Valley. It was a really fun day!”
Another team, Special Need for Speed, led by Brad Frazee, rode together over two days, raising over $14,000. And SA Photonics sponsored its own corporate team, raising over $20,600 for BORP. The Piedmont Peloton, led by BORP’s executive director, Rick Smith, raised almost $16,000, and the Veloraptors, led by Steven Goldberg and Stephen Blair raised more than $15,000. Amazing contributions from them all!
Other teams that helped make the event a success include: the DFL’s led by Don Hunt; the Essential Wheelers, led by former BORP staffer, Betsy Dorsett; and Bring it On, led by current BORP staffer, Bonnie Lewkowicz; and so many more!!
Of course, we want to acknowledge outstanding individual fundraisers such as Will Randleman (number one fundraiser for the 4th year in a row!!), Carrie King, Jonathan Newman, Cynthia Noonan, Rona So, Jason Harris, Dawn Nakashima, Mark Webber, Steven Baronian, Debra Meyerson, Steve Zuckerman, Grayson Holden, Brandon Wong, Bruno Hester, and Hydeh Ghaffari.
And to all those who participated and took the step of asking their friends and family for support. No matter how much you finally raised, we are so grateful that you joined us!
Thanks have to be shared with some key individuals who helped with planning and implementation of the event, like Cynthia Noonan, Tina Ybarra (who also led three ‘Rumba with Tina’ classes over the Revolution weekend), Kristi Hruzewicz, Lori Gray (who also led the virtual hike), Leo Siecienski and Sarah-Dawn Smith. Additional thanks go to all the amazing instructors of the virtual classes—JanpiStar, Ralf Somack, Rachel Kahn, Nancy Yates, Carino Ho, Brent Kobs, Conner Lundius, Krishna Christine Washburn, and Kimm Ropicky. And a big thanks to Ryan Hussey, who led the virtual climb.
Jill Gorman, BORP’s development associate, did an incredible job managing logistics and taking care of so many organizational tasks so that the virtual classes and activities ran smoothly. We’re also indebted to Jill’s husband Tagg and son Kyle who did such an awesome job of producing our launch and celebration videos. The Gorman family was definitely in the house!
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the 1,300+ donors who gave so generously to support BORP’s work. And our corporate sponsors—Anthem Blue Cross, SA Photonics, McGuire and Hester, Clark Construction, Sutter Health, Waste Management, Fidelity Insurance Service, Columbia Sportswear, and Clif Bar—really stepped up with outstanding contributions this year.
All in all, the Revolution 2020 was a true community effort!! Here at BORP, we are grateful to everyone who contributed their time, money and/or energy. THANK YOU!!
Jonathan Newman came to BORP in 1988 when he was charged with starting a goalball program. As a volunteer, Jon did everything to make goalball one of BORP’s core programs. Continuing to build this program, in 1995 Jon organized and managed the first BORP Goalball Invitational tournament, now an annual event, running for 25 consecutive years until Covid-19 interrupted the streak earlier this year. Thirty-two years after Jon joined us, BORP has one of the strongest goalball programs in the country. (Photo caption: Jon Newman)
In 1998 Jon joined the BORP staff and took charge of the adult sports program. Power Soccer was just starting and, as he did with goalball, Jon developed one of the nation’s most successful programs. But Jon’s impact on the sport didn’t stop in the United States. In 2004, he began to extend his influence beyond our borders when he took his first international trip to Paris as a member of a delegation representing the USA at international meetings. This effort culminated in the founding of the Federacion International de Powerchair Football Associations (FIPFA). Six countries participated in the Federacion’s first tournament including Canada, Denmark, England, France, Japan, Portugal, and the U.S. In 2007 Jon refereed Power Soccer games at the first FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup in Tokyo, Japan where the USA Team, led by Chris Finn, won GOLD!
But two sports weren’t enough for Jon, and in 2000, he launched BORP’s recreational wheelchair basketball program to supplement the competitive wheelchair basketball program we already had in place.
It’s almost impossible to neatly summarize all of Jon’s contributions to BORP and adaptive sports, but additional highlights from his career include:
1998: Pushed the entire course of the Bay to Breakers as a member of the BORP Wheelchair Centipede.
2000: Event coordinator for National Junior Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, hosted by BORP.
2004: Organized and managed BORP’s first BORP Hoops Classic. The Classic is an annual wheelchair basketball tournament for adult community level teams.
2008: Jon was a Guide Runner with Jessie Lorenz for her leg of the Olympic Torch Run in San Francisco prior to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympic Games. Jessie and the USA Women’s Goalball Team won Gold in Beijing!
2013: Started CAL goalball at UC Berkeley.
2017: The CAL Goalball Team wins the championship of BORP Goalball Invitational XXIII
In 2018: Organized the first Jonathalon, a celebration of his birthday and multiple adaptive sports.
2019: Organized and managed the first Kathryn Black Invitational (KBI), a power soccer tournament for recreational teams and athletes. Later in the year.
Jon traveled to Peru to referee Goalball at the 2019 Parapan Games.
In 2018 the BORP Board of Directors voted to induct Jon into BORP’s Hall of Fame to recognize his 30 years of contributions to BORP’s mission. And now, with 32 years of commitment and accomplishment, Jon leaves an amazing legacy! BORP and the entire adaptive sports community will miss his unshakable enthusiasm and commitment.
Thank you, Jonathan Newman, for everything you have given us.