Will Sarosdy Swim for Life Grant Program

The Will Sarosdy Swim for Life Fund was established in 2007 to honor the life of competitive swimmer and Austinite Will Sarosdy and his belief that swimming can help improve all aspects of a person’s life. Grants are awarded to:

  • Qualifying organizations involved in the sport of swimming for programs that help and encourage underprivileged youth to participate in the sport of swimming

Grant Guidelines

Eligibility: Organizations must hold 501(c)(3) non-profit status and demonstrate a commitment to youth participation in the sport of swimming.

Proposal Format: Applicants should submit proposals containing the following information to The Will Sarosdy Swim for Life Fund Donor Advisory Committee at the email address below:

1. Organization Name

2. Organization Mission Statement

3. Program Description and Objectives: Describe the specific program the funding would support. List at least three goals of the program.

4. Population: Identify the population the program would serve. Include demographic data: gender distribution, ages, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

5. Approach: Describe program plan. Include specific activities and time commitment.

6. History: Include description and outcome information of the history the program if applicable. May also include pictures or stories from the program’s history.

7. Budget: Identify the amount of funding requested (up to $1500)

  • Deadline: No deadline. Proposals will be reviewed as they are submitted. Applicants will be notified within 3 months from the date of proposal submission whether or not funding will be awarded.
  • Attachment: You must include a copy of your 501(c)(3) exemption status.
  • Length: Proposals not to exceed five pages.
  • Email: Electronic submission preferred. Please submit proposal as an email attachment to:

If you are unable to submit electronically, please mail to:

The Will Sarosdy Swim for Life Fund Advisory Committee
c/o Austin Community Foundation
4315 Guadalupe St., Suite 300
Austin, TX 78751

About Will Sarosdy

Will lived and breathed all things swimming. As a competitor he flourished in high school where his accomplishments earned him a place on The University of Texas at Austin Men’s Swimming and Diving Team. At Texas, Will fulfilled a childhood dream by training under the auspices of United States Olympic Swim Coach Eddie Reese and alongside current, former, and future U.S. Olympians. Will reached the pinnacle of United States competition when he competed in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the Men’s 100 meter Backstroke.

Upon Will’s retirement from competitive swimming he became a coach, and began teaching the principles that he learned from swimming, which he strongly believed could encourage individuals to better themselves. Will recognized that swimming is more than competition; it is about developing life-long friendships and core values including discipline, integrity and self-respect. It is about helping others to learn and improve. It is about being the best one can be and bringing out the best in others.

As aware as Will was about the positive impact swimming had on his life, he was also acutely aware that the same opportunity was not available to everyone. Will wanted to help provide swimming opportunities to disadvantaged communities in the hope that the youth of these communities would benefit from swimming in the same way he had. It is our hope that the Will Sarosdy Swim for Life Fund will further his goal and can stand as a fitting tribute to a swimmer, coach, teammate, friend, brother and son who recognized what the sport of swimming has to offer an individual and a community.

Previous Grant Recipients

  • 2008: S.W.I.M. Swim With Inspiration and Motivation (Austin, Texas)
  • 2009: Oakland Community Pools Project (Oakland, California)
  • 2010: City of Albion Recreation Department (Albion, Michigan)
  • 2010: Nadar por Vida (Arlington, Virginia)
  • 2013: Texas Health Harris Methodist Foundation, Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition (Fort Worth, Texas)
  • 2014: Lone Star Drowning Prevention Alliance (Fort Worth, Texas), BronxWorks (Bronx, New York)
  • 2015: CT Athletic Program (Tuscon, Arizona), Barren County YMCA (Glasgow, Kentucky)

Thanks to your grant this summer, we were able to transition every single child in our program in a lower income neighborhood, from “drowning prevention” lessons straight into “learn to swim” lessons. That’s 73 children who are now safe around water and have begun swimming as a sport and life-long skill.

Pam Cannell, Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition (and past grant recipient)

Related Resources

Learn about our Community Grant Program

Does your program have a substantial impact on the quality of life for people in Austin?

Meet the people and organizations that work with us

Ballerinas, curious children, wise elders, feral cats and nearly anyone who calls Central Texas home has been touched in one way or another by our grantmaking.