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Mark Brandt and participants of Kids That Tri program training

Donor Spotlight: Mark Brandt

Mark Brandt serves on the Board of Advisors at the Lakewood Family YMCA branch. He has also led the effort to introduce inner-city youth to try something new - the Kids That Tri program located at the downtown Parker Hannifin YMCA branch. Mark founded the Tri CLE effort to bring back triathlon racing to downtown Cleveland and worked with the city and business community to support the return of this event post-pandemic in 2021. Currently, it is set to have 500 participants and will be held on August 21, 2021 at both North Coast Harbor and Edgewater Park.

One of Mark's objectives in launching this race is to benefit urban kids who may not have a chance to swim, bike and run. He worked with senior leadership at the program in collaboration with the Parker Hannifin Downtown Cleveland YMCA and the Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School. Mark identified and removed many barriers for these children to participate in the program by seeking out support from the USA Triathlon Foundation and the Northeast Ohio community. Each program participant has been provided free of charge - swim goggles, swim caps, running shoes, bike helmets, tri-gear and a bicycle. In addition, bus passes are provided to youth program participants who need transportation to the training sessions.

Kids that Tri formed and grew in the midst of the global pandemic. These youth athletes met at the Y monthly during the winter. They trained with masks on and followed strict pandemic precautions. Student participation fluctuated during the winter months, but the program continued to grow, and dedicated students kept showing up even during the uncertain and tumultuous COVID months. Training continues in preparation for the August triathlon.

Recently, after months of training, Kids that Tri program participants experienced their first race at the Twinsburg Duathlon. Mark led the group with hard work, persistence, and dedication among the students and volunteer coaches to achieve this amazing accomplishment. 

We are grateful for Mark and his support of our Y. To make a gift to the YMCA, please call Beth Darmstadter, Chief Philanthropy Officer, at 440-759-7442, email her at or click here.