Greensboro Sports Council Introduces Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment

GREENSBORO SPORTS COUNCIL INTRODUCES MATT BROWN LEARN-TO-SWIM ENDOWMENT

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Greensboro Sports Council has established the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment in honor of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex managing director, the Council announced during tonight’s Fred Barakat Sports Dinner. The goal of the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s Learn-to-Swim program is to teach every second-grade child attending Guilford County public schools to swim.

“Matt Brown’s vision has made the Greensboro Coliseum Complex the most unique facility of its kind in the United States,” Tournament Hosts of Greensboro chairman Richard Beard said. “Matt’s vision to expand and enhance this facility has arguably had more impact on economic growth in Greensboro than anything else in decades, but Matt’s true passion is Learn-to-Swim. Through quiet early fundraising, $275,000 of our initial $500,000 goal has already been pledged to this endowment. We plan to keep raising money until the endowment has enough money to fully fund Learn-to-Swim every year.”


Greensboro Aquatic Center head instructor Tracy Bodenheimer teaches a second-grade student to swim during a Learn-to-Swim class at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The Greensboro Sports Council has established the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment to help fund the program. (Photo Courtesy: Greensboro Aquatic Center)

Since he helped establish the program in 2011, Learn-to-Swim has been 100 percent privately funded, and Brown has been passionate about raising funds to teach as many second graders how to swim as possible. The funds he raised, with the support of many in the Greensboro community including the Greensboro Sports Council, have allowed the program to reach more children each year.

“Matt Brown has been the driving force in making the Greensboro Aquatic Center’s Learn-to-Swim program a reality,” Greensboro Aquatic Center manager Susan Braman said. “Since the Aquatic Center’s grand opening in 2011, the Learn-to-Swim program has dramatically impacted lives of thousands of Guilford County schoolchildren. It is remarkable to now have an endowment in place that will bring so many positives such as life-saving skills, self-confidence and physical fitness. I can’t think of a better tribute to Matt’s passion for inspiring young people than to have this endowment in his name as a legacy of his efforts to inspire and improve the lives of our community’s youth.”

In 2012, Learn-to-Swim reached 257 second graders from four elementary schools in Guilford County. In 2015, 678 students from nine schools learned to swim, and as of last June, Learn-to-Swim had taught 2,421 Guilford County Schools’ second graders to swim. The program reached an important milestone in 2017 when it expanded into High Point and began reaching 20 schools in High Point and Greensboro; an estimated 1,300 second graders will Learn-to-Swim through the two-week program this year bringing the six-year total number of students reached to 3,721.

“The number of children we’ve reached through Learn-to-Swim is astonishing, but our goal is to teach all second graders how to swim,” Beard said. “With 5,636 children attending second grade at 69 elementary schools in the Guilford County public schools, we have a long way to go. Right now, we can only reach only 23 percent of our second graders due to a lack of funding. It is our hope, when the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment is fully funded, it will produce enough income to allow every second grader to go through the program every school year.”

The average cost for a student to participate in Learn-to-Swim is $40 which works out to approximately $3,400 per school. The average annual cost to teach all second graders how to swim is $230,000. The statistics Learn-to-Swim addresses are alarming:
· Eight children drown each week in the United States.
· For every child that drowns, five more receive Trauma Center care non-fatal submersion.
· 61 percent of all children do not know how to swim.
· 68 percent of African American children do not know how to swim.
· 56 percent of Hispanic children do not know how to swim.
· 48 percent of Caucasian children do not know how to swim.
· Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States.

Brown was appointed the Managing Director of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in November of 1994 in preparation of the city hosting the 1995 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament. He arrived in Greensboro after seven years at SMG, the largest private facility-management firm in the world. He has accumulated more than 40 years of experience supervising public assembly facilities including numerous NBA, NFL and NHL venues in the United States, two new venues and one World Cup stadium in Europe. To date, Brown has overseen the Coliseum’s hosting of 12 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournaments, 17 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournaments, five NCAA men’s basketball tournaments including a 1998 Regional and four NCAA women’s basketball regionals. He was inducted into the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.

Founded in 1959, the Greensboro Sports Council is the official host organization for the Greensboro Coliseum Complex providing hospitality, resources and community interaction for events held at the Coliseum Complex. The Sports Council supports sports events in Greensboro and Guilford County such as the Wyndham Championship PGA TOUR event, US Figure Skating Championships, the ACC Women’s and Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, various NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, the ACC Women’s Golf Tournament at Sedgefield Country Club, the United States Olympic Committee Table Tennis Olympic Trials, the ACC Baseball Tournament when applicable as well as any NCAA Championships hosted in the area.

In addition, the Council hosts the HAECO Invitational high school basketball tournament each December. Founded in 1976, this annual event donates its proceeds to charity and the participating schools each year.
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Photo Caption: Greensboro Aquatic Center head instructor Tracy Bodenheimer teaches a second-grade student to swim during a Learn-to-Swim class at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The Greensboro Sports Council has established the Matt Brown Learn-to-Swim Endowment to help fund the program. (Photo Courtesy: Greensboro Aquatic Center)