A new grant program available to all of Drum Corps International’s Open and World Class corps will help participating organizations to fund health and wellness initiatives during DCI’s 50th anniversary 2022 summer season.

Based on need and administered via a simple application process, the program will help provide financial assistance to corps, earmarked for hiring qualified, licensed healthcare professionals such as athletic trainers, nurses and others.

The funds may also be used to offset the costs of utilizing a privacy-compliant electronic health records platform which many corps have started using in recent years to better keep track of healthcare information on each individual corps member.

The DCI Medical Needs Grant Program has been made possible thanks to a generous donation by Elizabeth and John Von Allmen. Elizabeth, an alum of the Northern Aurora and Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps said that much of the inspiration for the six-figure gift came about after witnessing the unpredictability of what the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the drum corps activity, forcing a season off in 2020 and an abbreviated return to performances in 2021.

“I’ve seen many thoughtful, dedicated efforts to provide an exceptional drum corps experience and to take care of those who perform, teach, lead, and keep each organization functioning year to year,” Von Allmen said. “I recognize the complexities involved in ensuring a successful season and know that the COVID-19 pandemic has made this more challenging than ever. It is my hope that this gift can support corps of all sizes in their efforts to ensure the health and safety of those in their organizations in this moment of COVID-19 recovery, and that they will use these funds strategically, embracing the intent with which they are given.”

As the drum corps activity has evolved over time, so too has the focus on the unparalleled athleticism of performing corps members and their health and wellness needs throughout the annual Drum Corps International Summer Tour. In 2018, DCI corps adopted a policy requiring participating organizations to document all health, wellness and safety practices and procedures as well as to have appropriately trained medical staff on hand at all times during a corps’ summer tour:

POLICY 324 - Health, Wellness, & Safety

All DCI Participating Organizations on tour are required to have appropriately documented health, wellness, and safety policies, procedures, and practices to minimize any risks to their members, staff, and volunteers. The Participating Organization shall, in writing, confirm the existence and use of such policies, procedures, and practices to DCI for the upcoming competitive year on or before May 15th.

All Participating Organizations shall maintain an appropriately licensed or registered healthcare or medical professional team leader to provide on-site supervision, advice, and appropriate treatment (if necessary) during any organized activities taking place from May 15th through the period the Participating Organization officially disbands for the season. An appropriately licensed healthcare or medical professional includes an ATC, MD, DO, PA, ARNP, RN, PT, Paramedic and/or EMT.

The establishment of the DCI Medical Needs Grant Program additionally marks the unofficial start to a drive spearheaded by volunteers who make up DCI’s Marching Arts Safety & Health initiative to recruit medical professionals, especially athletic trainers, for corps participating in the 2022 DCI Tour.

“This generous gift from the Von Allmen family will help us to continue our mission of enhancing the health, safety and wellness of those taking part in the drum corps experience,” DCI CEO Dan Acheson said. "We are grateful for their partnership and their desire to assist us in serving participants at a higher level."

“The drum corps activity gave me so much,” Von Allmen said. “It's an honor to be able to do this and to help as many corps as we can. Hopefully we can do more in the future, and that this will also inspire others to do so as well.”

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