Ben Jankowski is passionate about food and cycling and wants to combine both in his future. He's a 20-year-old sophomore at UMass studying resource economics and food farming. He manages a student farm, is vice president of the university's cycling club and volunteers at local cycling events to inspire kids to ride. It's no wonder that last year he won a JAM Fund Grant.
"The grant means that those of us who want to test ourselves and grow as athletes have the ability to do so," he said.
In addition to the grant funding Jankowski received, he built a special relationship with the JAM Fund crew.
"It doesn’t get much better than being able to pedal with the rad riders in the JAM fam," he said. "I was able to follow their structure and learn by watching some of the best bike handlers in the nation. I feel myself getting stronger and see improvement in my technical skills. I owe most of that to the JAM fam and to the crew of cyclists out here in the valley. The grant let me meet these groups."
Jankowski encourages other young, passionate cyclists to apply for a JAM Fund Grant.
"The JAM Grant incorporates cyclists into a team that runs on holistic goals, which is what I love most," he said. "This is a team that trains in the physical sphere, and personal, by developing athletes who are inspiring community builders. The last few weeks, for example, the team volunteered at the NCC Kids CX events, which aims to show kiddos how fun cyclocross and riding your bike is. Groups like JAM are opening doors into the cycling world. Ride your bike. Have fun. Get sendy. Get stronger. Become part of the family. It’s pretty sweet!"
JAM Fund Grants are made possible by generous donations and from rider participation in the non-profit's biggest fundraiser, the Grand Fundo. All proceeds from the Fundo bike ride go toward supporting the JAM Fund cycling and grant programs. JAM Fund is accepting grant applications now. The deadline is June 10.