Giving back by moving forward. Moving forward by giving back.
“The mission of The Homestretch Foundation is to level the playing field of salary discrepancy in sport, so that female professional athletes have the same wages and equal opportunities as male professional athletes. Regardless of an athlete’s socioeconomic and/or life circumstances, we want all women to pursue their careers as athletes without compromise, inequality or injustice.” -Kathryn Bertine, Founder.
The Homestretch Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides temporary housing and other resources to professional or elite athletes—primarily female athletes—who face financial and economic discrepancies. In support of our mission, Homestretch Foundation:
* Assists low-income female professional athletes with free housing
* Bridges the wage gap of salary inequity for women in all occupations
* Provides resources and networking for post-athletic careers
* Provides opportunities for our members to thrive in their post-athletic careers
Why we do what we do:
Modern society believes in a common misconception: Professional athletes are wealthy and/or financially stable. However, this is not the case. Especially for female professional athletes. In sports like cycling, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling's governing body) allocates men a base salary of $35K euro. Yet, according to the UCI, professional women of the same rank as the men, "don't deserve a base salary." Because there is no base salary for women, many female professional cyclists earn less than $10,000 USD annually, and therefore must work additional jobs just to pay for basic life expenses. Salary inequity is not ok. The current system works to exclude people, particularly women from less-privileged backgrounds who are socioeconomically challenged. This leaves fewer opportunities for low-income women to sustain their professional careers in sports. At the Homestretch Foundation, we dismantle gender discrimination, assist in the struggle surrounding our current professional female athletes, and raise our sport, our society and our misconceptions to a better place: Equality.
We believe it’s time to address the issue of salary inequity; that the global gender pay gap is only 66%, meaning women only make two-thirds of men's salaries. That’s not equal. But before we eradicate problems globally, we need to start with what we know locally and personally. Here at the Homestretch Foundation, we know professional sports. Specifically, professional cycling. (See "Our Approach" below). So we’ve combined our passion for social activism, female pro athletes and salary equity into a unique program of solving problems, providing solutions and working together.
When it comes to progress and equality, changing the world isn't easy. Yet if we do our part, and others do their part, change does happen.
Our goal is to help reduce the immediate living expenses of athletes who have reached the same level as their male counterparts. In addition, Homestretch Foundation also provides assistance for elite female athletes preparing to retire or transition from full-time competition. We've developed an advocacy program that both teaches/connects our athletes with career development opportunities. To date, we've assisted cyclists with finding careers in media, nonprofit, technology, sciences, business and post-graduate degrees. From current careers in sports to future careers off the bike, our mission is to support, teach and empower female elite/pro athletes as equals to their male counterparts. And we're succeeding.
From global inequity issues to individual personal goals, we understand the hardest part of any journey is the homestretch---when we’ve put in the hard work and we’re so close to making it, but we need a little help. Together, we can move society forward. Gender equity will happen. Salary equity will happen. Progress is happening. Join our journey toward the finish line of equality for women. We’re in the homestretch...
Our inspiration for creating Homestretch Foundation:
The Homestretch Foundation was inspired by the experiences, vision, resilience and passion of Kathryn Bertine. As a professional cyclist, author, filmmaker and activist for women’s rights, Kathryn saw a need for helping other women. For years, she took into her own home as many athletes as she could, providing housing for her friends and competitors. But in 2014, she found herself in need of the help she had provided to others. One day, in the middle of her career as a pro athlete, everything she had was suddenly gone: No home, no car, no salary, no insurance and no pro team contract. Struggling to hang onto her professional racing career, Bertine vowed to get back on her feet and make sure no other female athlete would have to give up their career in the midst of life’s hardships. A journey of rebuilding ensued. Two years later, at age 40, Bertine signed with UCI World Tour team, Cylance Pro Cycling, where she would conclude one decade of racing, proudly retiring in 2017. In 2015, Kathryn joined forces with business partner & Homestretch Foundation co-founder, Tom Bailey, an executive/investor in the life sciences industry. Tom was inspired by Kathryn’s athletic journey, pro career, social activism, book writing & documentary filmmaking, and immediately embraced her vision of combining philanthropy, equality and community. As the son of a single mother, father of an athletic daughter and life-long passion for sports and education, Tom co-founded the Homestretch Foundation to actively support and promote equality in sports, business, salary equity and society's progress, one athlete at a time.
Together, they became business partners and created The Homestretch Foundation, which officially opened its doors to the first group of selected athletes in January 2017.