Last year, about this time, athletes began to register for 2020 Vacation Races events. When athletes signed up they had the option to pay for their registration or to run this race for a purpose, with a Charity Bib.
The Wander Project Charity Bib program helps athletes engage their friends and family in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Once the minimum fundraising commitment is met, athletes are registered for the race.
The funds raised through this program go to support the communities in and around where races are held. This year we took it a step further; we asked athletes to identify a few specific areas that were important to them to allocate funds towards.
From our most recent survey, athletes identified three major program areas that they hoped to help support: preservation and conservation of public lands, education around local ecology and stewardship, and promotion of health and wellbeing.
While athletes were busy raising funds, we reached out to community partners in the host communities and encouraged them to apply for a grant to support the program areas athletes decided were important.
With only half of the year’s races in the books, what athletes have been able to accomplish is nothing short of amazing!
Organizations from Arizona to Montana have seen the impact of what a small group of dedicated athletes can do. The following organizations should be receiving their checks in the mail any day now:
- Navajo Yes received $34,390.60 to support youth adventure programs, Code Talker education programs and their Rails to Trails Program
- Yosemite Conservancy received $25,338.23 to support the restoration of the Legendary Valley Trails such as the Mist Trail, Four Mile Trail and the John Muir Trail
- Bryce Canyon Natural History Association received $1,000 in unrestricted funds
- Grand Staircase Escalante Partners received $14,945.22 in support of their new facility that will work to promote conservation and education
- Public Lands Alliance received $21,502.82 to support scholarships for their Essential PLA program, which brings community partners together to support the preservation and conservation of public lands
- Glacier National Park Conservancy received $7,587.49 for a conservation project near St. Mary’s Visitor Center
- Yellowstone Forever received $2,204.60 for their Yellowstone Trails Restoration Program
- Grand Teton National Park Foundation received $8,218.40 for their Wildlife and Natural Resource Program
If you are like me, you are probably trying to do the math right now. Let me help you…that is over $115,000 that went to support amazing organizations in the communities that inspire us to run!
This deserves a HUGE thank you to all of the athletes, friends and family that raised funds through the Charity Bib Program or made a donation directly during the checkout process of registration.
While this is a major accomplishment, we are not done yet.
Maybe you are new to the race circuit or maybe your goal is to run all of the VR half or ultra marathons, either way a signing up for a charity bib is an amazing way to do more while doing what you are passionate about.
Together, I am hopeful that we can inspire another 100,000 reasons to run for a purpose.