Bridgestone Extends Support for Adaptive Athletes and Inclusive Sports Programs through Three New Partnerships

27 August 2020

Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (Bridgestone), a subsidiary of the world's largest tire and rubber company, 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 first-hand 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.

About Bridgestone Americas, Inc.:
Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world's largest tire and rubber company. BSAM and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers, and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The companies are engaged in retreading operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing materials, and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAM family of companies also operates the world's largest chain of automotive tire and service centers. Guided by its global corporate social responsibility commitment, Our Way to Serve, the company is dedicated to improving the way people live, work, move and play in all of the communities it calls home.

About the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund:
The Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, the philanthropic arm of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM), is a charitable trust established in 1952 by The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, a predecessor to BSAM. It contributes millions annually to 501(c)(3) organizations in support of causes that champion children's issues, education, and the environment and conservation.

About the Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence, and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $123 million has been raised and over 30,000 funding requests across all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied to help further CAF's mission of giving opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles.

About the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio
Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to remove barriers to ensure that individuals with physical disabilities have a chance to play and utilize sport to elevate ability and empower futures. Founded in 2009, ASPO is currently the largest organization in Ohio offering adaptive sport opportunities to athletes with disabilities. ASPO provides all adaptive equipment necessary for individuals with disabilities to play sports. Additionally, ASPO has pioneered interscholastic adaptive sport programs, including wheelchair basketball and adaptive track and field, enabling students with disabilities the opportunity to represent their schools like their non-disabled peers.

About Amputee Blade Runners
Nashville-based Amputee Blade Runners is a nonprofit organization that helps provide free running prosthetics for amputees. Health insurance companies have declared running prosthetics as "not medically necessary" and do not cover their cost. The organization helps amputees keep an active lifestyle by providing this vital equipment free of charge, with a goal to provide a running prosthesis to one athlete in all 50 states. ABR currently have athletes in 31 states who serve as ambassadors to other amputees.