BY ED MORAN
PHOTO BY ED MORAN
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Nearly a year after stepping into an interim role as head of the National Rowing Foundation, 1992 Olympian Tracy Brown has been named the organization’s full-time Executive Director.
“I am over the moon,” Brown said after the NRF announcement was made Friday morning. “I can’t even put it into words how thrilled I am. I’ve been interim for almost a year now, so it feels good to have this locked down.”
Brown, who joined the NRF in 2018 as Associate Director, became the interim head of the non-profit organization that raises money to help fund U.S. national rowing teams last January after then Executive Director Mara Keggi Ford stepped down.
Brown jumped into the role with a goal of helping the NRF raise $1.2 million in contributions for national team rowing in 2019, while also expanding the current pool of donors.
“During this important year prior to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Tracy has shown significant success in stewarding our current supporters, identifying and capitalizing on opportunities, and has developed a strong pipeline of new donors critical to the long-term support of our National Team,” said NRF Co-Chair Jamie Koven.
“Tracy’s leadership and initiative have put the NRF in a strong position for exceeding our year-end goals and we’re excited to be working with her and the rest of the NRF team as we head into the next Olympic quadrennium,” added NRF Co-Chair Marcia Hooper.
Brown, who rowed on three past US national teams, including the 1992 Olympic squad, said this past year has been an exciting and successful one for the NRF and the goal to bring in new support and donors.
“I think we had a couple of really nice wins this past year,” Brown said. “One of the things I was really focused on was bringing in some new supporters to the organization. There had been a bunch of really super loyal people that had been with us a long time, but I think with the help of USRowing, and good collaboration between our organization and theirs, we were able to really reach out and connect with new supporters, especially the new parents of some of the under 23 and under 19 athletes that are coming into the system.
“A lot of them have stepped into being great supporters of the NRF. Our mission has been about expanding our base and letting people know who we are. And we’ve had some great success with that,” she said.
According to Brown, the NRF’s funding goal for 2019 was $1.2 million. She said the NRF is within reach of meeting that mark and donating it to USRowing. The goal for 2020 is $1.4 million and the NRF is hoping to raise that funding in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“For us, our goals are really about the financial support of the national team athletes, and we need to bring in as much as we can prior to the Olympics,” she said. “The Olympics are going to be a little bit earlier this year, and we are encouraging people to make their gifts to the athletes earlier this year rather than waiting until later.”
Brown said donations are typically made in the fall and winter, and that the NRF is hoping to raise the necessary funding much earlier this year.
“It’s exciting,” Brown said about her appointment. “But I am also feeling the pressure because I know what the athletes need, and I love them all personally. I feel like they’re all my children, and if we don’t make our numbers, it affects them.”