Updated: Nov 2, 2022
This is a news blog post from WFencing member Adeline Chung-Feder.
Listen up! On Thursday 10/20/22 a few of us from the South Brooklyn Fencing Club attended The Prescod Institute for Sport, Teamwork and Education's PISTE Showcase, their first fundraiser at the Samsung 837 in New York City's meatpacking district. The event had over 300 confirmed attendees present. Special guests such Olympians Lee Kiefer and Gerek Meinhardt were signing autographs and doing photo ops.
Walking around the event during the first hour, I met my first fencing benefactor Peter
Westbrook. The man has helped so many kids that he probably can’t even count! He was
humble and gracious when we spoke. Later he introduced Ms. Nzingha Prescod during the award ceremony.
Both Lee Kiefer and Soo Kim received an award of a Katana sword. Ms. Lee Kiefer received the PISTE Trailblazer Award she spoke about how women should build other women up and about her long relationship with Ms. Prescod.
Mr. Soo Kim received an award for PISTE Excellence in Philanthropy. Mr. Kim was a high school fencer but had to stop due to lack of funding. His story resonated with me because like him I was introduced to fencing in high school but I didn’t have the support of my parents. However my coach was able to connect me with an organization like the Peter Westbrook Foundation. Later I was lucky enough to continue to fence in college.
We heard from a group of three panelists: Amy Brachio (EY Global Deputy Vice Chair of Sustainability), Laura Washington (Chief Comms Officer/VP Strategic Partnerships of NY Historical Society) and Tracey Wiley (Bally’s Director of IG Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). The panel discussed social impact through the lens of Fencing in the Park’s evolution.
Amy Brachio spoke about how environment, societal, government and sustainability are all connected, rippling programs that give back. She said, "You need to put the Why to the What
with money and volunteers." She pointed out, for example, that PISTE is a recipient of the EY Ripples program that allows Ms. Prescod to build PISTE along with a team at EY. Laura Washington talked about the 50th Anniversary of Title 9 and how it helped the white female athletes but not the black and brown students. Ms. Brachio noted that NCAA is made up of 68% females athletes and, of that, 11% are black and brown athletes. Most athletes of color are concentrated in basketball and indoor track and field. She mentioned the recent New York Times article and explained fencing is considered a country club sport so many black and brown students do not have access to it. She also said that a corporation has to be intentional with their purpose and value in the community. Funding to organizations like PISTE not only help individuals but also the community they live in.
Tracey Wiley went further by addressing the fact that corporations need to be more aware
what’s needed. For example, the UN has put out 17 sustainable development goals and corporations need to think about how their talent can give back. Societal impact requires transparency, she added, and there should be more pressure on policies, and when policies change so will the funding.
The whole event was also very engaging for the youth present. Besides posing for photos with the Olympians, our club fencers were able to wear an Oculus and fence in the Metaverse!
It was a great event and I hope PISTE will continue to have great success in the future.