Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (Bridgestone), a subsidiary of the world’s largest tire and rubber company, today announced support for three non-profit adaptive sports organizations as part of its ongoing efforts to help remove barriers in society and create advanced solutions that increase accessibility for all. The partnerships, which are partially funded by the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, will provide individual athlete grants and help expand local programs through Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio (ASPO) and Amputee Blade Runners (ABR).
Also a Worldwide Paralympic Partner, Bridgestone’s support for these three organizations will strengthen the company’s commitment to the mission of the Paralympic Movement by championing adaptive athletes, increasing accessibility to sport, and advancing diversity and inclusion education in local areas where Bridgestone operates. Through these partnerships, Bridgestone also aims to leverage its extensive engineering and materials science expertise to explore opportunities to help advance equipment and technology for adaptive athletes.
“Bridgestone is proud to support these three important organizations to foster more accessibility and inclusivity in sports, society and the communities where we operate,” said Paolo Ferrari, CEO and president, Bridgestone Americas. “We believe in the power of sport to excite and unite people of all backgrounds and abilities, and we are inspired by the mission of the Paralympic Movement and its incredible athletes who help us continuously reimagine what is possible when you never stop chasing your dream.”
Team USA Paralympian Scout Bassett is both a member of Team Bridgestone and a proud CAF ambassador. Bassett lost her right leg in a chemical fire as an infant, then was abandoned and subsequently spent seven years in a government-run orphanage in Nanjing, China. In 1995, she was adopted by an American couple from Michigan and tried a variety of sports to connect with her peers while still learning the English language. At 14, CAF awarded Bassett a grant to fund her training as a runner, starting her journey to becoming a U.S. National Champion, a World Championship medalist and a Paralympian in track and field.
“I know firsthand the impact that these organizations can make, as Challenged Athletes Foundation helped offer me a path that I may not have otherwise considered,” said Bassett. “I want to help ensure kids with experiences similar to my own can benefit from the activity, confidence and camaraderie that sport can provide. We have so much work still to do in this area, and the collective efforts of CAF, ASPO, ABR and Bridgestone mean so much in helping make the world more accessible and inclusive.”
The support for CAF, ASPO and ABR aligns with Bridgestone’s ‘Our Way to Serve’ corporate social responsibility commitment, which focuses on three key pillars of Mobility, People and Environment. Additional details of Bridgestone activities with each group will be announced in the coming months as the company continues to support the mission of the Paralympic Movement. In addition to Bassett, 23-time Paralympic medalist Jessica Long (swimming) and four-time Paralympian Will Groulx (cycling), are also members of Team Bridgestone in the U.S. Globally, the Team Bridgestone roster includes more than 20 Paralympians and Paralympic hopefuls.