Giving back by moving forward. Moving forward by giving back.
The Homestretch Foundation is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Tucson, AZ established to...
* Assist low-income female professional athletes with free housing
* Eradicate salary inequity for women in all occupations
* Teach our members how to become activists to create change
* Provide opportunities for our members to thrive in their post-athletic careers
* Allow members/donors to book our facility and stand with us to create equality
What we do:
From December through May, we provide free housing for 6-10 female elite/professional endurance athletes who are selected via application.
From June through November, we provide donation-based accommodations for camps, clinics, retreats, groups and other business, private or public ventures looking to base their event in Tucson.
Throughout the year, our board of directors, staff and athletes work together to eradicate salary inequity--not just in sports, but in every occupation. By joining our foundation, all guests, donors and athletes of The Homestretch Foundation help one another move forward.
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 (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." While talent and wealth will always factor into the salaries of all professional athletes, discrimination must not. Because there is no base salary for women, many female professional cyclists are earning less than $10K annually, working additional jobs, and still struggling to pay for basic life expenses. This is not ok. Men and women of the same career, rank and skill set must earn equal wages--on and off the bike. At the Homestretch Foundation, we work to dismantle the gender discrimination in the governing bodies, aid in the struggle surrounding our current professional female athletes, and to 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 "Who We Are" below). So we’ve combined our passion for social activism, female pro athletes and salary equity into a unique program of changing the 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. In the world of professional cycling--as well as the rest of the world--women commonly have significantly lower salaries compared to their male counterparts. 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...
How it works:
Elite/pro athletes apply to our committee for consideration, and upon acceptance, may stay between one to six months from December through May. In return for free housing, each athlete will give back to society by pledging two hours of volunteer work per week to a charity/organization/business affiliated with The Homestretch Foundation. Funding for the athletes’ housing comes from three sources: gifts, donations, endowments and events hosted during the off-season (June-December). We believe The Homestretch’s unique blend of community, charity and athletics will have a lasting impact on the athletes, donors and members of our global and local society.
Who we help:
Our demographic of athletes focuses on female cyclists at the professional level, but we accept applications from all female endurance athletes (age 21 & up... please see our Athlete Application page for more info) who would benefit from training in our Arizona climate. We select applicants from low/middle income backgrounds with little or no financial support and/or from challenging socioeconomic circumstances. While the public often associates “Professional Athletes” with millionaire status, we recognize that most female professional endurance athletes barely make minimum wage and are targets of gender discrimination. We seek to help these athletes, and to create change in global salary inequity.
Who we are:
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 will officially open its doors to the first group of selected athletes in December 2016. Board members and associates will be added in 2017.
The Homestretch Foundation is located on the Northeast side of Tucson, Arizona. With few traffic lights, the most scenic riding routes are just outside our front door: Saguaro National Monument, Colossal Cave, Redington Pass and the famous 26-mile, 9000ft paved climb of Mt. Lemmon. Just 9 miles from downtown Tucson and 20 miles from Tucson International Airport, we’re removed from the rush of the city, but an easy commute to everything essential. We're walking distance from a shopping center with all the necessities including groceries, pharmacies, restaurants, urgent care, beauty salons and, of course, all cyclists’ favorite hangout/greatest need: Le Buzz Caffe coffee shop. While we don't post photos of the home for the privacy of our resident athletes, the Homestretch appears to feel like, well, home....
"The set up here? Pretty much too good to be true!"
-Emma Grant, GBR
Colavita-Bianchi Pro Cycling