Skip to content

Michael Phelps Foundation Teaches Kids The Stroke Of Success

Photo Courtesy Wikimedia

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. Swimming in four Summer Games (2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016), he won 28 total medals, 23 of which were gold. Since retiring from competing, Phelps has somewhat drifted out of the limelight, becoming a father of three. 

However, even before he hung up his swim cap and goggles, he was helping kids follow a path of success. His foundation has touched the lives of thousands. 

The Michael Phelps Foundation was established in 2008. It provides swim lessons, healthy living, and a goal-setting curriculum through a strategic partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of America and Special Olympics International. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming offers a plethora of opportunities and benefits to kids. It is one of the best physical activities a person can do and can also provide mental health therapy and socialization through group activities. It gives kids structure and teaches them how to achieve their goals. 

One of the biggest barriers to swimming is a fear of water amongst children. Phelps said on his foundation’s website that he was also once afraid of the water. However, he took a water safety course when he was young, which helped him overcome that fear. 

The foundation does the same with its IM Program, which is taught by the same instructor who taught Phelps water safety. The course teaches five steps: IMSafe, IMFun, IMFast, IMHealthy, and IMSuccessful.

The steps give kids confidence and eventually help them get on track to compete in swimming competitions. They acclimate to being in the pool, learn how to swim fast, understand mental and physical health improvement, and how to achieve personal goals. 

Photo Courtesy Jeff Dunham

In 2010, the foundation partnered with the Level Field Fund. The two nonprofits worked together to fund talent and teach the “next generation of Olympic heroes.” Level Field Fund was founded by decorated snowboarder Ross Powers to bridge the gap for talented athletes with less-than-ideal financial situations. The fund has sent multiple athletes to the Olympics, X Games, and other international sports events. 

“Swimming is a sport that requires a significant support system to provide athletes with access to the best possible resources to improve and reach their full potential,” Phelps said on his website. “Losing talented athletes because of a lack of financial means is troubling. We support the Level Field Fund because we are big believers that every athlete should have the chance to pursue their dreams to their full potential.”  

One of the foundation’s fundraisers is Caps for a Cause. Nonprofits supporting the sport of swimming or related activities for health and well-being improvement can apply to have a signed swim cap from Phelps donated as a “silent or live auction item.” Organizations like Boys and Girls Club branches across the country and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance were recipients.

Photo Courtesy Wikimedia

In May 2020, the foundation pledged more than $100,000 in grants to provide social-emotional education at the Boys and Girls Club. Kids learned how to keep their mental health levels optimal during isolation and lockdowns during the height of the pandemic. 

The foundation also advocates for pool safety, working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s campaign to raise awareness about drowning incidents.

Pool Safely aims to educate parents about ways to stop drowning incidents. The foundation and the campaign have been working together since 2017

In September 2023, Phelps hosted the Phelps + Friends Tee It Up golf outing for charity. Guests got to play at Silverleaf Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. Attendees got a full experience, including all-inclusive resort amenities, awards for winning the outing, and a concert with country star Eric Church. 

“Our mission is to promote water safety, healthy living (mental and physical), and the pursuit of dreams,” Phelps says on the foundation website.

Share on Social

Back To Top