Starting a new nonprofit is no small task. It takes endless meetings, paperwork, building a board, fundraising, working with community partners, and developing programs.
That's just what Steve Allen did, and Spirit Club Foundation was launched in 2015 with the mission of making fitness accessible for people with disabilities.
Steve retired in 2020, and will be recognized with the Founder's Award at Spirit Club Foundation's annual Fitness Festival on Sunday, October 3.
"At the time there weren't any opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and other disabilities to exercise in a community-based program to improve their health and fitness," Steve said. "I became very committed to developing a foundation that could create greater access to exercise and fitness programs and provide financial assistance for people with all disabilities to participate in such programs."
Steve had a long career in affordable housing. He developed and managed the Resolution Trust Corporation's (RTC) Affordable Housing Disposition Program that focused on foreclosed residential real estate from failed Savings and Loans. He then worked at Fannie Mae to develop and manage their single family mortgage business for people with disabilities.
Following his work at Fannie Mae, Steve served as director of fundraising at Jubilee Association of Maryland. At Jubilee he further developed a fundraising event called the Roast which became an important county and State event. He also developed the Jubilee Model Housing Partnership Program. Steve retired from Jubilee and became committed to building the Spirit Club Foundation.
"A very special thanks goes to Peg Kolm," Steve said. Peg "was always there, encouraged Jared Ciner and me to organize the Foundation and attended endless meetings to raise funds and encourage other agency participation, helped to organize every Fitness Festival, and provided a level of expertise and leadership on the Board of Directors that was exceptional in every way."
Under Steve's leadership the foundation provided more than 750 scholarships, purchased equipment, provided financial assistance with transportation to and from gyms, funded training and certifications for health and fitness professionals, awarded the achievements of athletes and those who support them, and provided technology grants to help people connect to virtual fitness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award ceremony honoring Steve will begin at 2:00 p.m. at SPIRIT Club in Kensington.