The National Swimming Pool Foundation announces its recipients for the 2018 Step Into Swim Campaign, a 10-year initiative to create one million more swimmers. NSPF is humbled by the generosity of forward thinking organizations and individuals who support SIS, thereby enabling more people to enjoy happier and healthier living through water-based activities.

“Teaching children to swim should be the number one charitable outreach of our industry,” suggests NSPF CEO Thomas Lachocki, Ph. D. “Not only is swimming a vital life skill that opens the door to a world of activities, but knowing how to swim reduces the likelihood that a child will drown by 88 percent."

The following organizations will benefit from the $112,000 received this year: Angels of America’s Fallen, YMCA of Greater Charlotte, Jewish Community Center Association, New York State Parks, SwimToday (a program of USA Swimming), Cincinnati Public School System and many individual learn to swim programs selected by Master Pools Guild members and dealers of Pentair and Hayward. All donated funds are directed toward learn to swim programs, with NSPF covering all administrative cost.

Master Pools Guild has contributed $120,000 to SIS over the past three years. Executive Director Dick Covert recognizes that swimming builds demand for the industry, short and long term. For this reason, Covert states, “We want to help NSPF create a culture of giving among builders and service companies, directed toward learn to swim organizations local to them.” Joining MPG in dealer outreach this year are Pentair, Hayward and the Florida Swimming Pool Association.

Angels of America’s Fallen is a fourth-year SIS recipient that supports children of fallen military and first responders by engaging them in healthy activities throughout their entire childhood. The SIS grant supports their “Lessons from Lylah” program, named in honor of a two‐year-old girl who fell into the family pool and tragically drowned while on AoAF’s wait list. Through Lessons, all children within AoAF — or on their waitlist — may receive swim lessons free of charge.

Another perennial benefactor of SIS funding is the New York State Parks Learn to Swim program. For over six years, the program has expanded from a single location to 28, reaching well over 3,000 children each year. The program, made possible through a partnership with American Red Cross, is heavily backed by Governor Cuomo, the New York Department of Health, the Natural Heritage Trust, the Northeast Spa & Pools Association Foundation and general industry donations to SIS.

Two new programs for lower-income populations received SIS grants this year. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte, S.C., received $10,000 to augment $140,000 in additional funding to teach swimming and water safety to children living in apartment complexes around the city. Most, if not all, of the pools in such complexes are unguarded and have been the sites of drownings and near drownings in the recent past. The second program is led by Cincinnati Public Schools, which is partnering with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati to pilot a program with the eventual goal of giving all first and second graders swimming lessons and water safety instruction. Because 88 percent of CPS students qualify for free lunches, the Bill Kent Family Foundation is directing their $10,000 donation to fund the pilot effort.

Every dollar donated to Step Into Swim goes directly toward qualified learn to swim programs. To help change the world one swimmer at a time, learn more about Step Into Swim here.