The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis's smile was a bit broader this morning when four corporate entities handed over cheques to the #10gold24 Athlete Preparation and Welfare Fund.
At the TTOC headquarters on Abercromby Street, Colombus Communications, Southern Sales, Toyota and Deloitte & Touche all made financial contributions to the fund that Lewis launched with his 26.2mile walk in the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon Sunday.
The investment follows the $250,000 cheque the Guardian Group donated yesterday to the Fund Just Tuesday , Douglas Camacho appealed to corporate Trinidad and Tobago to stop the bandwagon jumping and step forward to help T&T athletes in their development stage.
Lewis hoped that this would be the start of a long-lasting relationship with the new investors.
"This is a first time for the Olympic Committee not only because of the roll out of the #10 gold24 and the establishment of the athletes preparation and welfare fund but in terms of signaling to the national community the strategic transformation and modernisation of the TTOC marketing approach," Lewis said, adding the TTOC was adapting a new social and digital media initiative to connect with a younger audience.
"We have to be scrupulously honest. The idea is we would love to see at some point it (this relationship) evolve and that you find the experience such a fantastic one that you want to take it to the top partner level but at this point in time it is really about the athletes and no one stake holder can do it all because it is not an inexpensive proposition," Lewis said The former rugby player said the TTOC is also taking a more proactive approach to fan and corporate engagement.
By expanding to other corporate stake holders, Lewis hoped to secure more resources to help more athletes.
"What the Fund/project is allowing us to do is to satisfy the demands of our relationship with our top partners but also afford an opportunity to other businesses and corporate entities in the marketplace to engage and be part of what we believe is an absolutely powerful initiative which is to engage the young people of T&T in a contemporary and dynamic way ......I hope your involvement is not a one-off because we have to recognise that this is an ongoing relationship," Lewis stated.
TTOC secretary general Annette Knot said the TTOC executive were extremely proud of Lewis and his initiative that has garnered so much support .
"The TTOC we were really proud that Mr (Brian) Lewis decided to make this very bold step with this walk," Knot said, " We are very proud of him but I can't tell you the momentum it has given us because now we have so many more people very conscious of the Fund. Of course, just the evidence of you being here today says to us that the step he e took was a bold step and we are very happy that he did because we know it will actually transfer from being cheques today to being actual performances tomorrow and going forward."
Lewis promised the sponsors and the national community that the TTOC will ensure through good accounting practices that all money given to the Fund will go directly to benefiting the athlete and will be transparent and accountable to stake holders.