Moving America Forward

Many Olympic Athletes Can’t Afford Their Dreams, So One Woman Stepped Up to Help

January 10, 2014
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Many Olympic Athletes Can’t Afford Their Dreams, So One Woman Stepped Up to Help
The Olympic Rings are seen outside of Sochi International Airport on January 8, 2014 in Alder, Russia. The region will host the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics which start on February 6th, 2014. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images
Emily White founded an organization to help these athletes get a lot closer to the medals.

Only a few lucky Olympic athletes receive corporate sponsorships. Many elite contenders have barely enough money to feed and house themselves, let alone pay for their training and competitions.

That’s why Emily White, a musician manager for Whitesmith Entertainment, is using her talent development skills to help competitive athletes. White founded Dreamfuel, a crowd-funding platform, to select athletes and launch their fundraising campaigns. After college, athletes are often caught in a dilemma: train full time to work toward their dreams, or work full time to support themselves. White, a former Division I swimmer, realized that most determined athletes would rather struggle than give up. “I was talking to another music exec who had a friend who was an Olympic weightlifter, who was living in her coach’s basement,” White told Fast Company. “I realized this is a thing.”

But Dreamfuel doesn’t just raise money and give it to the athletes; it also helps them market themselves and build a higher profile social media presence to attract potential sponsors in the long run. This is where White’s expertise comes in. She said that musicians, unlike athletes, know they need to get their fans engaged. White said Dreamfuel wants athletes to know how to develop their brands for long-term success. “We put together all the plans, all the benefit tiers, teach them how to create and sell merch, how to market themselves online,” White said. “Basically, all the things I do for bands, I’m flipping to the sports universe.”

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