UPDATED: U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation will be getting a leg up in fundraising

By Nancy Jaffer
February 28, 2017

He’s got a list of international contacts that ranges from royalty to captains of industry and star athletes. Jim Wolf, a go-getter who has experience in both administration of equestrian sport and finding sponsorship for it, is going to be turning his fundraising talent to the needs of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation.

Jim Wolf, new deputy executive director of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation. (Photo by Nancy Jaffer)

The organization announced this week that the Lebanon Township resident has been named its deputy executive director. In one sense, it’s a homecoming for Jim, who began working for the USET more than two decades ago, when it was in charge of training, fielding and funding competitors in the international equestrian disciplines.

On the other hand, he never really left the USET’s Gladstone headquarters. After the fledgling U.S. Equestrian Federation took over the team training and fielding responsibilities early in this century, Jim was made its director of sport programs, while the USET became a foundation focused on the fundraising needed to get American athletes on the medal podiums. He has continued to work in an office at the century-old stable that serves as the foundation’s base, where a number of USEF employees also are located.

In 2013, the former eventer started Wolf Sports Group LLC, a sports and entertainment agency dealing with business development and event management, while continuing to be involved in consulting work with the USEF. He also served as a consultant for Equestrian Sport Productions and the Tryon International Equestrian Center, home of the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the National Steeplechase Association.

Wolf Sports Group’s sponsorship links have included Rolex, Land Rover, Coca-Cola and many other firms, along with a variety of equestrian-oriented companies.

Noting the importance of the USET foundation’s work in assuring success for America’s international equestrian efforts, Jim explained, “We’re one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t receive sport funding from the government. For years, I led the teams and saw first-hand the need to be able to extend our efforts to be competitive on the international stage.”

It takes a lot of funding to enable U.S. riders to have a gold medal performance, like this one at the 2015 Pan American Games. (Photo by Lawrence J. Nagy)

Although he has spent the last several years involved with organizing events, Jim noted, “This opportunity was one I thought would enable me to continue to make contributions to the sport in a different way. It’s a donor base I’m very familiar with. I have very good connections and I obviously know the sports extremely well and know where the real need is for the funding. I think I’m uniquely positioned to do well in this role.”

Wolf Sports Group will be honoring its contract and working with the USEF until the end of the year, but as Jim noted, “it won’t be taking on any new clients in the at this time, as I need to put all my energy and attention behind the fundraising effort for the USET Foundation.”

Jim knows what it takes to succeed in the arena from the inside-out, as he served as U.S. chef de mission at five Olympic Games, five world championships and four Pan American Games. Before getting the sports program position, Jim was the USEF’s assistant executive director/director of games preparation and athlete programs and prior to that, director of eventing activities.

He is married to Dr. Molly Bliss, a former U.S. eventing team member who competed in the first WEG in 1990. They have a daughter, Josselyn.

“We are very excited to have a person of Jim’s caliber joining the USET Foundation as deputy executive director,” said Bonnie Jenkins, the foundation’s executive director.

The U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters in Gladstone. (Photo by Nancy Jaffer)

“His expertise and depth of knowledge of high performance equestrian sport, his broad range of relationships throughout the country and among the equestrian disciplines, as well as his experience in event management, will directly impact our fundraising efforts and help the foundation continue to grow and expand throughout the country. Jim’s professional experience, combined with his love of our United States equestrian teams, makes him the ideal person to fill this new position.

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