Sweating for a CauseLG Press & Media — By Maggie Young on November 4, 2012 at 12:04 am
So Sandy has come and (mostly) gone, but many of us are still feeling her effects. Whether you’re still waiting for the return of power and the receding of the frankenstormian waters or, like me, you have been fortunate to live in an area that escaped Sandy’s grip, your thoughts may be turning to how you can help those who have been hit the hardest.
Chances are you have participated in a charity race or other athletic event before. The top 30 largest athletic fundraising events raised a grand total of $1.69 billion last year alone, according to an annual study by the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council. For some of us, that meant writing a check for a $30 race entry with the proceeds supporting a chosen cause. Others have taken the next step to go out and solicit donations for a cause meaningful to them.
My friend Holly Corbett and her two co-creators of thelostgirls.com travel blog and co-authors of the accompanying book by the same name recently cooked up the idea to recruit women (and men) to break out those worn-once bridesmaid dresses and run a race wearing them while raising money for a good cause. Their charitable invention, the Runaway Bridesmaids (lostgirlsworld.com/runawaybridesmaids/), raised over $7,000 for New Light, a shelter for kids of sex workers in India’s largest red light district, at New York City’s Fifth Avenue Mile in September. Sandy permitting, they’ll be back at it—and multiplying their race distance by 26.2—in this weekend’s New York City Marathon.
Meanwhile, five years into his quest, 33-year-old New Yorker Robert Reffkin who I interviewed for a story on ESPN.com this week has run 50 marathons and raised nearly a million dollars for a variety of charities including one he founded, New York Needs You (newyorkneedsyou.org), which provides career mentorship to first generation college students. What impressed me the most: He has raised all that money, $912,000 and counting, through his friends and family (and presumably friends of friends) alone. Talk about networking.
And I can’t forget Jordan Sheridan, the local high school softball player I had the opportunity to write about last spring for another ESPN story. Jordan, her school’s ace pitcher dreamed up a campaign to “Strike Out Hunger” by collecting pledges for every batter she struck out over the course of the season and donate the money to Syracuse’ Samaritan Center. She raised $3,723.75 in year one as a sophomore and $11,449.35 in year two of the program. I can’t wait to see how she does this spring.
But an e-mail I got this morning from BloodSweatAndCheers.com reminded me that you don’t have to sign up for a race to turn your workouts into dollars for a cause. They featured a new app, GiveGo that, when it launches in December, will allow you to sign up pledges so you raise money every time you bike, run or walk. Not a bad way to give back (and stay motivated) around the holidays.
Have you ever used fitness as a catalyst for fundraising? Do you feel comfortable asking others to contribute to a cause or do you prefer to write a check yourself? What’s your favorite charity to support?
Stay dry and safe out there!