Stephen Whisnant, World T.E.A.M. Sports’ first executive director, has a new professional position. The U.S. Olympic Committee announced March 3 the hiring of Whisnant as their Managing Director with a focus on Paralympic fund development.
Partnering with World T.E.A.M. Sports Chairman James Benson to create the Ride Across America in 1987, the first inclusive cross-country bicycle ride with both disabled and non-disabled participants, the partners later established World T.E.A.M. Sports in 1993, with Whisnant serving as executive director for 11 years. During this period, WTS created several inspiring inclusive events, including the AXA World Ride in 1995, the 1998 Vietnam Challenge, the cross-country Face of America in 2000, and the 2002 Face of America ride in September, 2002 from Ground Zero in New York to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, attracting more than 1,000 participants. Whisnant currently serves as a member of World T.E.A.M. Sports’ board of directors, as well as other non-profit organization boards such as the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Based at the USOC’s Washington, DC office, Whisnant will develop new resources for the USOC and the Paralympic movement in the United States. He will also assist with creating a major leadership gift program for the USOC. “Steve has an extensive background in development and is the type of top-flight professional that we need to reach our goals,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun.
A graduate from the University of North Carolina, Whisnant spent 14 years in higher education in development and advising, and created fund-raising strategies for several institutes and organizations, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Most recently, Whisnant served as campaign director for the United States Institute of Peace’s $186 million “Building for Peace Campaign.”
Whisnant, his wife, Liz, and son, Max, make their home in Washington.