Team USA’s mental health program gets $10 M gift from Rieschel Foundation
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC)., in partnership with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, announced on Tuesday that Yucca and Gary Rieschel have committed $10 million in support of Team USA’s mental health program. The donation, made through The Rieschel Family Foundation, is the largest standalone gift in foundation history.
“We are immeasurably grateful for Yucca and Gary’s generosity and their passion for the well-being of Team USA athletes,” Sarah Hirshland, USOPC CEO, said in a statement. “The Rieschel family’s support has already transformed the USOPC’s mental health service offerings, allowing us to better meet the needs of athletes while helping the USOPC become a world leader in athlete mental health care. We are thrilled that they have chosen to further invest in our mental health program and our efforts to support current and future generations of Team USA athletes on the road to Paris 2024, Milan-Cortina 2026, Los Angeles 2028 and beyond.”
The Rieschels have been active supporters of the foundation since its inception in 2013. They made their first gift in support of the USOPC’s mental health program in 2020 to become the organization’s first Mental Health Ambassadors.
“This gift reflects our family’s commitment to supporting Team USA athletes during and after their time as Olympians and Paralympians,” Gary Rieschel said in a statement. “We strongly believe that our athletes engaging with their local communities will reduce the stigma associated with seeking help and create relevance for the Olympic and Paralympic movements in those communities. We must succeed in this mission if we are to guarantee safe, fair and universal sport in the United States.”
With funding from the Rieschel family and a renewed commitment to holistic care, the USOPC has invested significant resources into athlete mental health and well-being. Since 2020, the organization has hired eight new licensed providers, logged 1,700 unique encounters with athletes, created a mental health registry with more than 200 participating providers across the country, and utilized mental health officers on the ground in Tokyo and Beijing during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The $10 million gift commitment puts in motion the first of three phases of the USOPC’s mental health program expansion, culminating in the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles. In the first phase, Dr. Jessica Bartley, the USOPC’s senior director of psychological services, will focus on building upon the program’s existing foundation to bolster resources, ensuring every Team USA athlete has access to a licensed provider who can address their mental health needs.
“This gift is truly game-changing for our athletes and the entire organization,” Christine Walshe, USOPF president, said in a statement. “Yucca and Gary’s commitment represents the next transformative step for Team USA’s mental health program. We are also seeking additional investors for this program to match the Rieschels’ generosity and continue improving for our athletes.”