Achilles International Inc.

Transforming the lives of people with disabilities through athletic programming and social connection.

New York, NY   |


The mission of Achilles International is to transform the lives of people with disabilities through athletic programming and social connection.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Emily Glasser

Main address

315 West 39th Street Suite 205

New York, NY 10018 USA

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Formerly known as

Achilles Track Club



NTEE code info

Other Recreation, Sports, or Leisure Activities N.E.C. (N99)

Diseases, Disorders, Medical Disciplines N.E.C. (G99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Achilles International, a global organization operating in 25 countries including the US, transforms the lives of people with disabilities through athletic programs and social connection.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Achilles Kids

Physical activity is an important part of every child’s healthy development. But for children with disabilities, it’s more important than you think. A recent Reuters Health study reports that children with disabilities who participate in the right exercise program show improved quality of life, greater aerobic capacity, and better function.

The Achilles Kids running-walking-rolling programs have been illustrating this for over 25 years. Kids with disabilities get the opportunity to exercise regularly and compete with other runners, helping them become stronger and healthier. Equally important, they give children a way to measure achievement at any level of participation, gain confidence through their successes, and have fun.

Achilles Kids offers three programs to meet the needs of children with disabilities. All of the programs are available through our New York chapter and are being rolled out to other chapters throughout the world. To find out if there is a program in your area, or to get information on starting one, please contact us at: 212.354.0300 x305.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

In 2004, Achilles launched the Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans program. An extension of the Achilles process of physical strengthening, building confidence, and generating a supportive community, the program was adapted to the specific needs of wounded members of the U.S. military. Program participants receive training as well as use of specialized adaptive devices, such as hand-crank wheelchairs. While the goal is to enter and complete a marathon, the program stresses “achievable accomplishment,” encouraging participants to begin by training for a less-demanding competition, such as our 4-mile “Hope and Possibility” race. This allows the members to experience success and build confidence. Since its inception, we have worked closely with the physical therapists at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD; and Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA. All injured military personnel and veterans are eligible for the program, whether the injury is combat or non-combat related.Specialized Equipment

We reach out to wounded veterans in the hospital and in their local communities. Our goal is to provide them with the opportunity to train and participate in mainstream marathons. Program training includes learning how to use a hand-crank wheelchair, which is a three-wheeled cycle powered by hand pedals. This adaptive device is excellent for people with injuries that have resulted in amputation or paralysis. It was through the efforts of Achilles that these devices are now permitted in many marathons, including the ING New York City Marathon.

Continued Achievement

Achilles has found that having the opportunity to be active and achieve in a mainstream environment leads to increased confidence, enhanced physical wellness and goal setting in all areas of life. We encourage our athletes to continue the program and their physical and emotional healing process. They can do this through membership in a local Achilles chapter or by participating in our marathon tour.

Additional details about areas around the country where Achilles is active can be found on the Chapter page of our website.

For further information, please contact the Freedom Team Director Janet Patton at [email protected].

Population(s) Served

In 2001, after knee surgery, Dick Traum came to realize that using a handcycle is a fantastic way to get people who have suffered injury back into exercise, independence and sports. In 2004, Achilles presented the idea of handcycling to wounded veterans who lost limbs in conflicts and the program became the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans. A long-standing relationship with military hospitals ensued. We were able to offer wounded military personnel a seemingly "impossible" goal of completing marathons because they could use a handcycle. It was a sure-fire way to reignite their passion for achievement and their competitive spirits!

Today many marathons welcome the use of handcycles although all limit capacity in order to ensure a safe experience for all participants. The New York City Marathon has been hosting the largest field of handcycles worldwide for many years and the Los Angeles Marathon also welcomes a large handcycle division. Handcycles and Pushrim Wheelchairs are distinct and separate divisions which share the marathon course. This is an important distinction to make since pushrim wheelchair athletes do not have the advantage of gears which handcyclists do.

Handcycles cost upwards of $3,800 and many Achilles chapters have handcycles which people can take for a practice ride before committing to purchase their own. Contact the Chapter nearest you and ask if that is the case.

Should you be interested in learning more about handcycles, please email Janet Patton at [email protected].

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Achilles International has more than 28 chapters throughout the United States that are run by dedicated members and volunteers who recruit athletes, organize workouts, and secure funding for all programs. Beyond the United States, Achilles has 48 international chapters in 24 countries, each operated under one universal mission: To empower people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self-esteem, and lower barriers to living a fulfilled life. Through these chapters, Achilles International works diligently to break down barriers and eliminate stigmas associated with disabilities on a global scale.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

TriAchilles introduces individuals with disabilities to multi-sport competitions within New York state and nationwide. Participants have a spectrum of experience and athletic abilities. Many of the athletes have no previous triathlon training and are coached in swimming, biking, and running with the goal of competing in mainstream races alongside able-bodied peers. Other veteran multi-sport athletes represent Achilles within the elite paratriathlon community on the world stage.

TriAchilles is unique because of the wide spectrum of athletes with disabilities which it develops and supports. The athletes' physical challenges include complete and partial blindness, single and double amputations of both lower and upper extremities, traumatic brain injuries, polio, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. In addition to increasing their own self-esteem and confidence, Achilles athletes challenge the widely held perception of people with disabilities as frail. Their determination and perseverance inspire spectators, supporters, race officials and volunteers.

Starting in early spring, the team meets weekly for swim practice and twice weekly for running and bicycling workouts in Central Park. We invite you to come see how we swim, bike, and run!

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Achilles has programs serving various segments of the disability community. Achilles Kids provides regular workouts and an active curriculum for 11,000 low income children with disabilities in 350+ public schools in 18+ states. Children have a goal of completing a "virtual marathon" of 26.2 miles in a school year. Those who do receive a free pair of sneakers.

The Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans serves men and women injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. We work closely with physical, occupational, and recreational therapists to integrate training on hand-cranks or running on prosthetics into veterans' ongoing rehabilitation. The veterans then have the chance to participate in one of 14 mainstream races throughout the country, including the NYC, Marine Corps, and Chicago Marathons and the Disney Half Marathon.

Our NYC Chapter holds twice weekly workouts and participates in monthly races in the NY metro area. This improves the health and fitness of people with disabilities, helps them to set achievable goals, and provides an opportunity to socialize for a population that is often isolated and disconnected from the mainstream.

Achilles also has a number of chapters throughout the world. Our two major events are the NYC Marathon in November, at which more than 250 Achilles athletes with disabilities, many from our international chapters, run, walk, or roll 26.2 miles; and the Hope & Possibility 5 mile race, which is the premier event for able-bodied and disabled athletes to participate side by side.

All Achilles programs share a belief in the power of athletics to lead to increased achievement throughout all areas of a disabled person's life.

Achilles International has innovative strategies to accomplish its​ goals. Achilles is s a pioneer in creating opportunities for people with disabilities to be active in a mainstream environment. We are also innovative in that we are welcoming to people with all kinds of disabilities, including amputations, traumatic brain injuries, visual impairment, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and diabetes. We are inclusive and focused on integrating people with disabilities into the general public. Achilles is also innovative in terms of the relationships it builds between combat wounded veterans and civilians with disabilities. It offers the newly wounded veterans hope for the future to see people who manage their disabilities well and have built full and active lives. Our strategies for the future involve using our innovative approach to create inclusive, mainstream athletic opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in long-distance running.

Achilles International's goal is to promote healthy living among people with disabilities, a population that is at high risk for sedentary behavior that complicates existing and leads to new health problems. Regular exercise improves mobility, cardiovascular health and helps maintain a healthy weight. Numerous studies have even proven regular exercise to stimulate the growth of new brain cells. Achilles is working with the Cigna Foundation on a study to quantify the effects of running on children with autism. Working hard towards an ambitious goal promotes emotional and psychological wellness and being a part of a supportive group with positive norms decreases isolation and improves satisfaction with their life. One of our Freedom Team members described how Achilles promotes wellness: "The best thing about being around Achilles is seeing so many kids on the start of a marathon weekend have the look of "why am I doing this and I'm embarrassed to be seen out as an amputee." Then you see them three days later and they are totally different people. Self-confident and with a feeling like wow! If I just did a marathon I can do anything with the rest of my life." That same feeling of accomplishing​ holds across all of our participants, from our veterans to our Achilles Kids to our athletes in the United States and abroad.

We have been successful in many of our goals. We continue to refine ways to reach hard to target groups of people with disabilities. We also struggle to balance our ability to offer opportunities to our athletes with budget constraints.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Achilles International Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Achilles International Inc.

Board of directors
as of 06/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Donna Golkin

Perry & Donna Golkin Family Foundation

Board co-chair

David Greenstein

Vice President, Lakin Tire East, Inc.

Hank Art

Emeritus Center for Environmental Studies, Williams College

Alisa Fastenberg

Steven R. Fastenberg Memorial Fund

Trisha Meili

Author and Motivational Speaker

Donna Golkin

David Paterson

Former Governor NY State

Robert W D'Loren

Xcel Brands

David Greenstein

Lakin Tire East Inc.

Rebecca Lindenbaum

F. Robert Russo, Jr.

Achilles Ambassador

Tyrrell Schmidt

TD Bank

Richard Shutran

Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP

Paul Savage

United Building Maintenance Corp.

Thomas Jenkins

Express Scripts

Cedric King

Motivational Speaker, Achilles Freedom Team Athlete

Ross Wilson

Shah Family Foundation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Not applicable
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/25/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/07/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.