Seven Fitness-Based Organizations to Consider Giving to This Holiday Season
If fitness is a big part of your life, it can be so much more meaningful to give back to a charity or nonprofit that helps others access fitness or health services, especially around the holiday season. However, it can be difficult to find organizations that serve that mission. Here are seven charities in the functional fitness space that are giving back to their communities and beyond.
1. OUTAthletics: The world’s largest initiative for bringing LGBTQ+ athletes and allies together in fitness.
- What They Do: OUTAthletics has several initiatives, including OUTAthlete, which provides gym memberships to young LGBTQ+ athletes to give them a community and a supportive network through fitness.
- Who They Serve: The LGBTQ+ community and allies. According to OUTAthletics, “We strive to create an inclusive community of all walks of life and inspire you to feel good about yourself, your workouts, and your life.”
2. Mayhem Mission: Founded in 2020 by CrossFit Games Champion Rich Froning Jr. and Brian Nelson, the Mayhem Mission looks to serve those in need, locally or internationally.
- What They Do: Utilizing fitness as their main platform, Mayhem Mission partners with various organizations to do mission work and disaster relief.
- Who They Serve: The Mayhem Mission has four pillars as they look to serve those impacted by human trafficking, a lack of access to clean water, unreached communities, and at-risk youth. They have also focused on helping the CrossFit community over the years, giving back to programs like Project Onyx, which provides fitness to underserved Youth in Demoines, Iowa.
3. Forging Youth Resilience: A nonprofit organization that uses fitness “as a tool to teach imperative life skills like perseverance, grit, determination, resilience and confidence to prepare our athletes to face the challenges life throws their way with grace, maturity and strength.”
- What They Do: With functional fitness at the foundation of their mission, this organization partners with fitness facilities nationwide to bring fitness, nutrition, and mentorship to underserved youth.
- Who They Serve: Youth who are underserved or facing remarkable challenges that might prevent them from having the same level of access to these services. This includes:
- Youth coming from under-resourced families or neighborhoods
- Youth out of school, including youth out of school and facing unemployment
- Youth in or aging out of foster care
- Youth experiencing homelessness
- Youth who may need an alternative pathway educational environment (at risk of leaving secondary school without a diploma)
- Youth who are involved in the justice system
- Youth experiencing environmental factors that put their health, safety, and well-being at risk
- Youth facing socio-emotional challenges exacerbated by being part of an under-resourced environment
4. Project Onyx: Founded by former Games athlete Elijah Muhammad, Project Onyx seeks to give at-risk youth in the Des Moines, Iowa, area a place to work out and receive mentorship.
- What They Do: Provide fitness and mentoring for at-risk youth. Their mission is to “eliminate the barriers that Black and Brown teens and young adults face by providing affordable and accessible health and fitness services, mentorship for our youth and future professionals, and empowering our communities to become more culturally proficient, healthy, and active.” Moreover, they seek to fight systemic racism that drives disparities for African Americans and other POCs in the health and fitness world.
- Who They Serve: At-risk African American and POC youth in the health and fitness community and beyond.
5. Battle Cancer: A 10-week study done on cancer survivors showed that CrossFit or other group-based fitness classes benefited from overall improvements in quality of life. Battle Cancer looks to help more people experience just that with their programs.
- What They Do: Battle Cancer seeks to raise awareness and funds for cancer charities, as well as build a supportive community that encourages cancer survivors to find their way into fitness, particularly group exercise-based classes.
- Who They Serve: Cancer survivors, as well as coaches looking to become more educated on how they can serve cancer survivors.
- What They Do: Girls Gone Rx is an event series and part of Compete for a Cure, which looks to fund breast cancer survivors’ health and wellness, as well as provide education for coaches.
- Who They Serve: Breast cancer survivors and those currently battling, as well as coaches looking to educate themselves to make a more inclusive environment for cancer survivors.
7. The CrossFit Foundation: The charitable arm of CrossFit LLC, the CrossFit Foundation “supports the work of CrossFit affiliates and charitable organizations that use CrossFit to serve the needs of their diverse communities.”
What They Do: The CrossFit Foundation provides support for those looking to give back by utilizing CrossFit as the base of what they do. They also work to educate, advocate, and push forth efforts in combating chronic disease.
Who They Serve: The work of the CrossFit Foundation includes underserved youth and communities around the world, veterans, cancer survivors, those in recovery from substance abuse, and more.