Gail E. Gorton Women in Sports Fund
Gail and Peter Gorton met as students at Central Michigan University in the 1970s. They shared a passion for the environment, education and physical activity. Peter and Gail were avid “birders,” members of the Chippewa Valley Audubon Society and sports enthusiasts, and incorporated their interests into their active lives. Peter served as a soccer coach for over ten years and worked as the Campus Planner for Facilities Management at Central Michigan University. Gail pursued a degree in environmental education. As an educator in the Mt. Pleasant Public schools, Gail was a teacher who encouraged students to perform their personal best. Students and parents appreciated the creative projects that Gail integrated into the curriculum, the emphasis she placed on student responsibility and her commitment to creating a classroom community that valued learning and the development of a healthy sense of self.
While Gail grew up during a time where opportunities for women in sports weren’t as plentiful as they are today, she knew that sports often helped children find their confidence. She saw the value of sports in her own family; both Grace and Clare were skilled in soccer, track, volleyball and tennis. Both girls also served as senior class president at their high school. When Gail passed away in 2003, Peter, Grace and Clair (Peter and Gail’s daughters) thought that an endowment that promotes women in sports would be the most appropriate way to honor Gail’s talents.
Since its beginning, the Gail E. Gorton Women in Sports Fund has granted over $5,000 that enhance opportunities for girls in sports. The programs receiving the funds have varied. In 2008, three hundred and fifty three girls who participated in a program that coupled healthy living habits and a 3.1 mile run received a medal that represented their hard work, perseverance and triumph of participating in Girls on the Run. Funding for the medals was generously provided by the Gail E. Gorton Women in Sports Fund. Recent grants have been given to the Mt. Pleasant High School Girls Soccer team in order to rebuild and strengthen their skills after the loss of teammate Carolynn Cosan. Individual grants have been amde to advance talented girls to the next level of competition. It will remain a goal of the fund to foster self-esteem, perseverance and to challenge girls to be the best in their endeavors.