Making an Impact Beyond Fitness

For SportsArt, the company it keeps reflects its commitment to its mission and vision.

Since its founding by Paul Kuo in 1977, SportsArt has been driven by a mission and vision beyond manufacturing fitness equipment. What began as a drive to produce equipment capable of using less energy—and then actually producing energy—evolved into a philosophy built around sustainability. Producing its machines in a fully sustainable facility, which is part of what the manufacturer refers to as its “Green Impact Campus,” SportsArt’s culture is just the tip of its vision iceberg.

“At SportsArt, we are focused on bringing to market beautiful, smart, innovative products and technologies that play a role in sustaining the health of the planet and its people,” says Ruben Mejia, executive vice president, Americas at SportsArt. “We believe that serving others is more important than rewarding ourselves. We also believe in supporting our local and global communities through our time, talents, and charitable giving.”

Birds of a Feather

In the past, we’ve written about the success SportsArt clients have had in reducing both their energy consumption and carbon footprints. Ruben is finding that the company is attracting customers increasingly in line not just with its goal of energy reduction, and the attendant benefits, but with its overarching vision of stewardship of the planet.

“In fact, we find the most success with like-minded customers because we can combine forces to leave the world a better place than how we found it,” he explains. “Many know that their facilities are a platform; a means to truly becoming part of the fabric of their communities and beyond.”

Ruben offers the following client spotlights to illustrate his point.

Putting Recovery in Motion

After suffering a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed, Buffalo, NY, native Natalie Barnhard searched for programs that could aid in her recovery. Not finding what she needed in Buffalo, she went to Atlanta, GA, for the services she needed. When she moved back to Buffalo, she was determined to find a way to help others with dilemmas like hers.

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“My goal was to inspire those with spinal cord injuries to rise above their challenges by promoting emotional support and spiritual healing to foster hope for a successful and fulfilling life,” she says.

With that in mind, she spent $1 million of her own money to open Motion Project: The Natalie Barnhard Center for Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation and Recovery. The center is described as “a place for people to come to recover after a life-changing spinal cord injury. We never stop moving forward to bring the best outcomes for individuals as they progress through their journey toward recovery; providing state-of-the-art equipment, exceptionally trained therapists, research, care navigation, advocacy, and support.”

Beyond Motion Project, Natalie also founded the Western New York chapter of the United Spinal Association, which is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of all people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders, and providing support and information to loved ones, care providers, and professionals.

Although she’s not in it for the recognition, Natalie has received a number of accolades, including the Women Lawyers of Western New York’s Trocaire Alumni Award (2015), the Buffalo Business First Women of Influence Award (2015), and the United Spinal Association’s Finn Bullers Advocate of the Year Award (2021).

Hope as a Mission

Founded in 1984 by Joanne and Tad Duni—who both have 40 years’ experience in helping people recover from illness—Moving With H.O.P.E. is a leading adaptive fitness, learning, and rehabilitation center based in Shelton, CT. They provide essential rehab, exercise, and skills training to people living with physical disabilities. The Dunis believe that everyone should have the opportunity to move, learn, and be part of a supportive community.

“Moving With H.O.P.E. is on a mission to make physical rehabilitation more affordable by partnering with municipal governments, providers, small businesses, and nonprofits,” says Tad. “We support low- to middle-income clients by raising money and accepting donations to provide financial aid and fund outreach, education, and advocacy.”

Moving With H.O.P.E. is dedicated to empowering survivors, strengthening communities, and giving hope to its patients. Their cognitive learning program helps patients develop problem-solving skills with the goal of becoming more independent. Their workforce training prepares patients to enter or renter the workforce.

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It’s not just about the big picture. During the pandemic, Moving With H.O.P.E. worked with the Yale Postdoctoral Association to pick up and deliver food for Yale’s COVID-19 Emergency Response team.

Saving Strays, Serving Those Who Serve

Personal Edge Fitness, in Mobile, AL, customizes training and health programs based on their clients’ individual abilities and needs to help them attain their optimal fitness levels. The staff is educated and specializes in exercise science, exercise physiology, kinesiology, sports medicine, and athletic training.

Owner and Founder Garrett Williamson is a former college athlete and Olympian, but fitness is just one of his passions. Outside of Personal Edge, he and his wife founded Save a Stray, which is an all-volunteer, foster-based rescue group dedicated to helping dogs and cats in the Mobile area. They even use their house as the headquarters for the organization and as a shelter for all the animals. In addition, Personal Edge Fitness raises money for Wounded Warriors in Action and organizes silent auctions for troops overseas through Operation Shoebox.

Shared Vision

“As an organization, SportsArt is more than just about selling equipment—we’ve developed technology designed to serve the planet,” says Ruben. “We’ve found that many of our clients share a sense of having a mission and vision that is more than health and fitness. We all share a mission in a larger context; one of what it means to serve beyond industry boundaries.”

To learn more about SportsArt’s mission and equipment, visit their website.

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Jon Feld

Jon Feld is a contributor to